Luv Machine-Turns You On
(Rise Above Relics) Keith Boyd 02.27.07
Rock music is littered with thousands of one-off projects and bands that for whatever reason never saw the light of day. Others acts saw a moment or two of the spotlight but burned out in blaze of financial disaster, drug overdoses and infighting. 1980's boxed sets such as "Nuggets" and "It Came From The Garage" were literal testaments to the wonderful but truncated glories of the Rock-n-Roll dream. As these audio snippets show many of these acts deserved their doomed anonymity but a select few leave you scratching your head in wonder that they didn't become full blown classics. Rise Above Records has come out with a new imprint, "Rise Above Relics" to high-light some of these lost gems and the first of these releases is the wonderful, "Turns You On" from the terribly named Luv Machine.
Rise Above (owned by Cathedral singer Lee Dorrian) is the premier British Doom/Stoner Rock label in the world. They have released classics from such bands as Electric Wizard, Orange Goblin and Circulus. In 2006 they formed the Rise Above Relics division to focus on the lost and forgotten forbearers of bands who serve as the antecedents to their current roster. In this case they have unearthed the only Lp from Bahamanian Heavy Rock Boogie combo; Luv Machine.
Luv Machine were victims to the classic business meets artist rip off paradigm and the band disintegrated almost as quickly as they came together. Thankfully they were able to record this wonderful album on the way and RAR deserve credit for bringing to our ears. The album is a wonderful boogie down fuzzed out rock feast. It combines elements of the sounds of Cream, 10 Years After and touch of Santana (during their initial psych-boogie incarnation). The music is punchy and filled with urgent soulful vocals and great harmonies. Main-man Michael Bishop wrote all of the songs and they manage to channel a funkified blend of Traffic era Steve Winwood with the propulsive rock of the aforementioned Cream. The disc is a treat from beginning to end. It leaves you wondering why these songs weren't instant classics of the era and didn't propel the band to superstardom. In particular tracks such as Lost and My Life is Filled with Changes present the diverse punch of the bands sound. The densely packed booklet that comes with this reissue is full of pictures of the band and a wonderfully complete bio written by Lee Dorian.
Luv Machine might have not scaled the heights of glory during their brief career but as this CD proves financial success doesn't necessarily equate with artistic mastery. Ultimately this thoroughly enjoyable CD leaves the listener wondering what other dusty gems are out there in the dust bins of history waiting to be discovered. It also gives us caution to pay attention to current underground acts due to the fact that we just might be ignoring a contemporary masterpiece.