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    Most Popular Songs (more)

    1Wait And See lyrics
    2Song For No One lyrics
    3Chameleon lyrics
    Pacifier lyrics
    5The Metal Song lyrics
    All The Young Fascists lyrics
    7Boat Song lyrics
    8Thin White Line lyrics
    9Alive lyrics
    10Sleepeater lyrics

    Most Popular Albums (more)

    1Shihad [1996]
    2Devolve - EP
    3Blue Light Disco - EP [1998]
    4Killjoy [1994]
    5The Meanest Hits [Deluxe Edition] [2011]
    6Love Is The New Hate [2005]
    7The General Electric [1999]
    8Alive [2005]
    9Beautiful Machine [2008]
    10Churn [1993]


    Rock'n'roll can get you into some hairy situations over 20 years. Most bands don't make it half that far. They're silenced by the toll of the road, the vagaries of fashion, personal differences, lost ideals or an empty tank of inspiration.

    Then there's Shihad. What doesn't kill them only amps them up, makes them louder, clearer, more united and determined to write THE song that will make the world raise its arms and roar in a single note of perfect harmony.

    Beautiful Machine is the seventh studio album from New Zealand's premier road warriors. Months before release, it had 45,000 Big Day Out punters bouncing from stage to stalls in Auckland, where its heart-stopping first single, "One Will Hear The Other", has put their past airplay in the shade.

    "We're all quietly confident this is the most focused record since The General Electric," says singer Jon Toogood, referring to the band's landmark rock radio arrival of '99.

    "The feeling in the band is way more positive after the last few years of touring 'cause it had been so cathartic. It was like, right, I wanna have fun with melody again. I wanna have fun with grooves. I wanna write great songs that really connect and move people."

    Beautiful Machine is loaded with them, from the exhilarating uplift of "One Will Hear The Other" to the atmospheric harmony of "Hard to Please"; from the glam rock thump of "Rule The World" to the heartbreaking tenderness of "Waiting Around For God".

    "We knew we wanted to do something different. That's the common drive amongst the band. Never repeat yourself. If you can manage that after 20 years then you're really onto something," Jon says.

    Incredibly, the band's chemistry has never sounded more potent. Tom Larkin again proves himself one of the finest rock drummers of his generation. Jon's singing has never been more moving, Phil Knight's guitar counterpoints never more lyrical and Karl Kippenberger's melodic bass work brought a new dimension to the writing process, says Jon.

    "Phil would come in with a loop that sounded like an old Pink Floyd record, or something might have sounded like New Order when it was on my laptop, but once you get Tom playing drums and Karl playing bass, it sounds like Shihad. Just from a different angle."

    The angles have all changed since the "big, heavy wall of angst" of Shihad's 2005 album, Love Is The New Hate. Instead of that record's fast and furious construction, Beautiful Machine was crafted with months of attention to detail, from laptop keyboard squiggles to painstaking refinement in Tom's new studio in Melbourne.

    "Having all our gear permanently set up and ready to record meant we weren't afraid to try anything different," Jon says. "We had the luxury of time. It took about a year of experimentation, then the doors just suddenly opened to a whole new way of writing."

    The keyboard dalliance is not new. Loops and samples wove through Killjoy in '95, even Churn in '93, the band's allegedly "industrial" debut. But Beautiful Machine reaches back to the more classic textures of the Prophet and Moog keyboards of decades past.

    They were blended with Shihad's trademark full-tilt electric attack with the indispensable aid of engineers Scott Horscroft (Silverchair, The Sleepy Jackson, The Panics) and their old colleague Magoo (Oils, Regurgitator, Powderfinger) in the demo stages; and Matt Lovell (Eskimo Joe, Grinspoon, Something For Kate) for the album proper.

    For the sonic piece de resistance, Shihad realised a teenage fantasy when UK indie maestro Alan Moulder mixed the album. "My Bloody Valentine and Ride were a couple of our earliest reference points as a band," says Jon. Moulder's more recent work with Nine Inch Nails and The Killers sealed the deal.

    The result is an album of rare power and cohesion, both in sound and subject matter. The title, Beautiful Machine, leapt into Jon's head when he saw footage from the Voyager II satellite, but like everything else, it was subtly transformed when it got to the band room.

    "Originally I thought it was about the satellite giving us a chance to look back at who we are. But when I mentioned Beautiful Machine to the band they said, 'You mean humans?' Well, yeah, and the planet as well! I mean, it's all pretty amazing, don't you think?" he laughs.

    "A lot of it's dealing with communication and lack of communication, and how that basically stops things growing. It can apply to problems I have in my personal relationships and problems on a world scale. There are dark moments, but overall it's a real return to the Shihad uplifting, anthemic thing.

    "What I'm really pleased with is that we've managed to find a new way around music," he says. "So what we do now is keep our heads down, learn to play the songs really well, then go out and do what we do. Whatever happens then, happens. But like I said, we're quietly confident that it's a f---ing great record!"

    Band Members:
    Tom Larkin (drums)
    Jon Toogood (guitar, vocals)
    Karl Kippenberger (bass)
    Phil Knight (guitar)

    From muzic.net.nz

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