I’m always up for a good jam session and it’s not often that I get to experience the sensation of jamming outside of a live show. This might explain my complete infatuation with the first EP release from Nashville instrumental-rockers Montezuma Fire Machine (MFM for short), Frown Like a Lord.
This is a band defined by its versatility and overall musicianship. Throughout thirty minutes of genre-defying music, MFM deftly maneuvers from the mysticism of the intro tune to the dance-infused “Mr. Meal” to the reggae feel of “On a Stone.” The band simply gels throughout this seven track EP, due in no small part to the rhythm section of Alan Pfeifer (drums), Wil Harley (keys), and Chris Malone (bass). MFM hits its stride early in the second track “Calabash,” a straight up rocker that showcases the talent of every musician in the group. The song is driven by the full force riffs and solos of guitarists Chris Herlevic and Colin Poulton, but acts a mere prelude of things to come on the rest of the EP. The work of fiddler Christ Acree and saxophonist Braxton Nicholas serves to carve out an innovative sound in songs like “Testing the Waters” and the aforementioned “On a Stone,” adding a touch of tranquility and beauty to the raw power of distorted guitars and heavy rhythms. The EP culminates with “The Train,” an impressive ending that tends to leave the listener stunned, still trying to understand the scope of the musical journey that has just ended.
The inclusion of so many sounds and genres has the tendency to make a band seemed unfocused and noncommittal to their own sound; not so with MFM. The band is able to leave its imprint with its constant hinting of the members’ motley source influences while maintaining a sense of purpose and defining their own sound in the process. MFM is the master of its own exciting, musically diverse domain.
The bottom line: Frown Like a Lord is a must-listen for music lovers as MFM takes an insane sounding music formula and runs with it.
Key tracks: “Calabash,” “Mr. Meal,” and “The Train”
Find Montezuma Fire Machine on Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud.