Answering Machine

Answering Machine play a mean combination of power pop, pop punk, and indie rock. Formed in 2016 by a pair of New York City schoolteachers (vocalist Samantha and guitarist/vocalist JD), the duo filled out the band with some of their friends (guitarist Jackson, bassist Craig, and drummer Louis). After playing The Fest and Pouzza, plus releasing a few singles and EPs, “Bad Luck” is their full-length debut. Most of these songs are just so damn catchy it’s, to use an ironic phrase for these days of pandemic, infectious! I love the sweet harmonies and brilliant hooks. “Riverdale” opens the LP with tons of power pop jangle, and it’s clear we’re in for a great ride. Samantha takes the lead on the title track, injecting some soul to the indie rock sounds. I hear tons of different influences in the music: psych, indie, power pop, pop punk, and soulful sounds. Just like mutts usually make the best pets, this sort of mix makes for the best listening. “Bubblegum” adds in a dose of retro bubblegum pop, making it a really fun one. But don’t let that deceive you: it’s not just simplistic air-filled music. This is one of the best tracks of the LP, loaded with some amazing arrangements and righteous riffs. “Hollywood Smog” features Samantha’s sweet indie-pop vocals juxtaposed against harder edged rock and roll instrumentals, worthy of a grunge band, though the melody is just too bouncy for grunge. “This Year” is a classic pop punk track, and “Marie” has a distinct Americana flair to it, and its hooks are amazing. “Wet Blanket” is a fantastic power pop song, with JD taking vocal leads and Samantha harmonizing on backups. It’s got an early Beatles-esque vibe going on. Every one of the ten songs is a gem. And one of the best things is that, though Answering Machine stays true to themselves as a band throughout the album, there’s enough variety from song to song to keep things interesting. This is a real winner here, folks. (Paul Silver - Jersey Beat)

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