ARTIST: The Sway Machinery
TITLE: The House Of Friendly Ghosts, Volume 1
REVIEW: The Sway Machinery is led by guitarist-vocalist Jeremiah Lockwood, who is interested in integrating Jewish cantorial music with contemporary sounds (Lockwood’s grandfather was a cantor). He’s also a skillful blues player, and his band features horn players Stuart Bogie and Jordan McLean from the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. All these elements come into play on the band’s second recording, which was made in Mali while and after they attended the Festival In The Desert in Timbuktu. By all rights, this should be a god-awful hash of a project; actually, it’s quite brilliant. The rhythm section and horns absolutely cook, Lockwood’s evocative lyrics and singing (especially on tracks 2, 9 and 13) offer a somehow appropriate contrast, and guest Malian vocalist Khairy Arby (her Western debut, Timbuktu Tarab, was recommended here last year) totally steals the show on tracks 7 and 11. Like Balkan Beat Box (for whom Lockwood plays guitar), The Sway Machinery is forging a new, uniquely American-melting-pot musical genre. This one is most highly recommended to any listener with an active imagination.
REVIEWER: Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS: 2 7 9 11 13