Review: City Of Satellites – Machine Is My Animal

Towards the end of 2008, I was enraptured by the an EP from Jarrod Manuel and  Thomas Diakomichalis. Performing as City Of Satellites, this Australian duo operate in the same sphere as Talk Talk, Breathless and Bark Psychosis; creating deeply emotional music with a keen sense of space and dynamics. Now their first album has arrived and it’s largely a case of their promise being fulfilled.

‘BMX’ demostrates the sum of their disparate components perfectly; crisp percussion, Manuel’s lemon-fresh vocals and glorious synth melodies are at the heart of everything they do. ‘Victor! Burn City Lights’ even begins with two and a half minutes without vocals but it’s varying pace and rhythms always keeps the listener interested. Meanwhile, the title track features glistening guitar lines and seems engulfed in a deliciously attractive feeling of sadness.

If there is a criticism – and it is a small one – a couple of the tracks seems a little too smooth. single ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ is essentially synth pop of the most sophisticated kind whilst ‘Skeletons’ also reminded me of Scritti Politti (but Manuel’s soothing, effeminate tones may have much to do with that).

‘Machine Is My Animal’ falls a little short of classic status but it is still a hugely impressive first album. Most of the tracks exhibit mystery and exquisite, glacial melodies backed up by pristine production.

Web Sites:
City Of Satellites Official Site
City Of Satellities MySpace
Hidden Shoal Recordings Label and Shop Site

Further Listening:
Breathless, Scritti Politti


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