They make music with machines and they are – to use the British vernacular – “birds”, so Machine Birds is a logical name for this Norwegian female duo, one surmises. Naturally this only tells half the story because Maria Skranes and Marte Eberson are masters of arrangement rather than the lightweight synth act you might expect.
‘Save Yourself’ is the first exhibit of their prowess and delights with Skranes’ powerful, emotional vocals and Eberson’s vibrant layers of ambient pop. ‘The Way It’s Meant To Be’ swaps between vocoders and Skranes’ purity and its darker, experimental hue calls to mind fellow Norwegian Anja Grabarek. ‘If I’ is simply gorgeous, though, from its lush synths and the tenderness of the singer’s tones to its glorious Euro-pop chorus. It deserves to be a big hit. The same could be said for ‘Time’; another song which demonstrates the joys of an original melody and even when they attempt instrumental weirdness – as they do on ‘Interlude’ – they emerge with dignity intact.
This may just be an EP but based on the evidence before us, the potential of Machine Birds is enormous. ‘Save Yourself’ rivals the best work of Björk and The Mummers for production values, ambition and sheer love of pop.
Anja Garbarek, The Mummers, Björk, Lidwine