The music of String Machine is rapturous and inviting. You’ll find an undeniable magic within each note, a palpable energy owed in part to its creative process. Hallelujah Hell Yeah is an album of joy, vulnerability, and forgiveness. Through this inventive indie rock, seven friends manage to transport you to the bedrooms, basements, and home studios in which this was all created, conceptualized, and recorded.
This recording is the band’s representation of what it means to be grateful that one is alive, regardless of whether that carpe diem spirit is sourced in optimism (“Hallelujah!”) or nihilism (“Hell Yeah!”). It’s a powerful statement that rings especially poignant in such uncertain times.
The former solo project of vocalist and guitarist David Beck, String Machine was created when Beck enlisted a number of friends to help create his musical vision. The group, now seven members — Beck (he/him), Laurel Wain (she/her), Nic Temple (he/him), Katie Morrow (she/her), Ian Compton (he/him), Dylan Kersten (he/him), and Mike Law (he/him) — collaborated on two previous records — Youth Fossil and Death of the Neon.
String Machine isn’t shy about sharing their heart with you, and that confessional spirit continues on Hallelujah Hell Yeah. “The album was inspired by moments of dealing with anxiety surrounding a lot of personal stuff. Usually, my instinct when anxious is to keep myself busy. Writing songs was the middle ground where I could solve inner-turmoils while feeling productive,” Beck said.
Reconnecting with journaling enabled Beck to let down his guard, and for that, Hallelujah Hell Yeah has an uniquely spirited driving force. “This writing experience felt a lot more honest & confessional. Instead of writing blurbs of nonsense & attaching meaning in a subconscious archetypal way, I tried to be more deliberate about having purpose in what I sing/write,” he said. “Every song has a place. I’d write the music and hum melodies until they were catchy enough to be stuck in my head. Putting the words to the music this way was a lot different than what I’d done before.”
Each single stands as a snapshot. Opener “Places to Hide,” which finds liftoff in its twanging strings and unexpected use of trumpet was written beachside in Ocean City, Maryland. “Touring In January” was written during a solo tour in the Poconos and uses keys, horns, and a bittersweet view of touring to create a moment of emotive triumph. When it’s all pieced together, you’ll feel as if you’re an eighth member of String Machine, paying witness as a band reaches their fullest, glorious potential.
Since the release of Death of the Neon, String Machine has garnered praise from publications including Pitchfork and GoldFlakePaint. They’ve played with acts including Ratboys, Wild Pink, Slaughter Beach Dog, Another Michael, and Mandancing.
–written by Lauren Rearick