Produced by German minimal techno superstar Chopstick and Australian guitar maestro Stuart James McBratney, The Mischief Engine's debut album Soul Delay must be heard to be disbelieved. Their influences include Sade, Metallica, Nick Drake, Heston Blumenthal, The Chemical Brothers, Vladko Stefanovski. Wait, what? Heston Blumenthal, the Heston's Feasts guy? But, he's a chef!
It's not as crazy as it sounds. In the kitchen, Heston discarded the rule book. In the studio, The Mischief Engine spurned the rule book with dramatic hand gestures, tore out its pages, then fed them to the neighbourhood dog, Saxon. He'll eat anything, the greedy bastard.
For those unfamiliar with The Rule Book of Modern Album Recording, here are a few excerpts:
#23. Every song must sound the same.
#45. Don't be playful with genres.
#67. Avoid narrative interludes. Modern attention spans are… hey cool, new Transformers trailer!
In addition to increasing Saxon's fibre intake, TME's disregard for rules had another result: it produced an album which sounded different. Just as Mr Blumenthal combined bacon and eggs with ice cream, so too did The Mischief Engine concoct unlikely combinations, albeit with less saturated fat. Take Firegirl for example. What begins as a bubblegum pop take on Michael Buble, (Bublegum pop, if you will), suddenly shifts gears into a massive guitar riff, heavy enough to make Pantera blush. Throw in a jazzy baseline, and it's ice cream for your ears. With a pinch of pork belly.
Or there's Silence. It combines some sweet beats from Chopstick, with laid-back rhymes from Canadian MC Cadilak Grill, and some Eastern-influenced guitar courtesy of Mr McBratney. The song's structure is 16-bar blues, and the chorus is a melodic hook sung by Nathan Dyer, aka The Man With The Golden Voice.
Soul Delay takes its name from William Gibson's book Pattern Recognition. It's a phrase used to describe jet lag. When listened to from beginning to end, the songs combine into a narrative, specifically a long-distance love story. It's about a guy who falls in love with a girl on the other side of the world, then travels the globe to meet her. The protagonist's emotional rollercoaster is conveyed through tunes of stunning versatility, a pinch of humour, and just the right amount of D minor, the saddest key of all.
But these days it requires more than a pretty ditty to be noticed. Now with The Internets and Whathaveyou, music is as much about marketing as it is about content. Cue The Mischief Engine's 5-Step Marketing Strategy Thingo:
So there you have it. Soul Delay by The Mischief Engine is now available, so let the feasting begin! We'll end with some variations on a metaphor.
If music were food, Soul Delay by The Mischief Engine would be a banquet created by Heston Blumenthal.
If music were food, Soul Delay would be a tennis racquet.
If music were food, we'd all starve because it's merely vibrations of air particles. And you can't eat that. I've tried.
If music were food, Soul Delay had better be a cheeseburger. I'm starving.