"The name's Bond, James Bond". A line uttered by numerous people through the years. Sometimes it had a marked seriousness, sometimes a resolute playfulness.
Nonetheless, arguments abound about who was the greatest. Some prefer the fun, some prefer the sombre. The Blood Brothers have likewise been through a myriad of musical changes, practically reinventing themselves with each release. Throughout their five albums they have shifted from growling hardcore to spastically progressive art-punk, showing marked improvement in terms of musicianship and vocal performance with each addition to their arsenal.
"Young Machetes" is the album that previous effort "Crimes" wanted to be, a exuberant, playful, yet terrifyingly dark amalgamation of ferocious hardcore and shiny synth-pop. Complete with the downright strange lyrical concoctions which form the backbone of each track. Utilising a twisted tapestry of imagery which unfolds itself with familiarity. Sometimes requiring knowledge of previous songs to help decode another. Such interwoven intelligence rewards avid fans, and it's not hard to see why The Blood Brothers have legions of these.
The dual-vocals of Jordan Bille and Johnny Whitney sparkle ever brighter this time around, with the distinctive line between the two becoming ever clearer. Jordan's shows off his ever-increasing range with added melody this time. Now deserving the description of sounding like a child being tortured for long enough that he starts to enjoy it. Whitney in the meantime lays down his menacing mumblings and shows that when he goes all-out, very few can touch the sheer power and feral nature of his vocal contributions.
Each 'Machete' bounds around stylistically like a demented bunny with electrified shoes on a shooting range. Within the blink of an eye, songs like "Giant Swan" launch into all-out vocal assaults when only a split second earlier they were lo-fi textured electronica. "Lift the Veil, Kiss the Tank" ventures from passage to passage, rarely repeating itself as it offers up increasingly mesmerising hooks which any other band would likely split into 6 or 7 different choruses such is their brilliance.
Gear shifts are the key to success in this album and throughout the career of these Seattle boys. Never does the feeling of familiarity set in, each second could hold a breath-taking turn of events, and that is precisely what is missing from most of their contemporaries around, excitement, suspense and originality. It's tough to see where there will carry on to following this album, but they have always been good at surprises.