Formerly known as The English Panther, guitarist Travis Stever (from concept rock luminaries Coheed and Cambria) takes his side project Davenport Cabinet out of the box under the bed and unveils their third full length as a band and their second under their current moniker. For some brief background info, the band’s name is in reference to 19th Century magicians the Davenport brothers, whose illusion involved a large cabinet filled with instruments which seemed to play themselves.
The name is applicable because there is a broad flux of instruments and sounds that manage to envelope this neat little twelve track package. Between Stever and his cousin Tyler Klose they manage to encompass hard rock influenced guitars, folk driven acoustic currents, proggy elements that bubble over the side without overflowing, and a sincere softness which mellows every point of the nervous system. The softer folk driven numbers like ‘Drown It All’ features wonderful vocal harmonies, whilst the “harder” tracks such as ‘Black Dirt Burden’ still maintain that underlying calmness without losing the edginess of the electrifying guitars. Those brief proggy drips that slide down the side of this glass produce a growing curiousity, for instance the brief percussion outro in ‘Deterioration Road’ hone in on your senses.
Yet this “illusion” is flawed and doesn’t feel believable or entirely realistic. As a record, ‘Our Machine’ has the theoretical elements to make it a brilliant document to relax to on a daunting Sunday afternoon, yet there is that feeling of uncertainty; an impression that can’t be decided on a simple 50/50 decision of heads or tails. It’s soothing, it’s relaxing but it treads on an unnerving tight rope coded with the word filler.
All in all, ‘Our Machine’ is a calming effort full of charisma and ambition from a trio of hardworking musicians who are in no doubt capable of being skilled craftsman in their own art. Unfortunately the results that have been produced only just about make it in the middle of a scale that can’t make up its mind on whether it’s entirely good or bad, only to instead be ranked at average. Perhaps this isn’t an illusion but rather a puzzle whose pieces are either missing or don’t quite make up the picture.
‘Our Machine’ by Davenport Cabinet is out now on Everything Evil.
Davenport Cabinet links: Facebook
Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)