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The Swedish Railway Orchestra release 'Dance To The Drum Machine'.

Dublin DJ Rob Smith delivers a fourth album with the emphasis on dance.


Album: Dance To The Drum Machine

Band: The Swedish Railway Orchestra

Released: July 27 2022

In a recent interview with James Hendicott, Rob Smith (the conductor and sole member of TSRO - he is an auto-orchestra) revealed "It’s the Swedish Railway Orchestra record I had the most fun making. I felt on the previous album, the self-titled 3rd one, I put myself under pressure that I had to make a great album. This time around I felt more loose about it and the result feels like more of an album ideal to play at parties."

Bang on the money Rob.

Cover art for Dance To The Drum Machine by The Swedish Railway Orchestra

Ironically the opening track is the exception which proves the rule. It is also the first track we heard when Rob contacted Blowtorch about potentially releasing the album and Rob - 'you had us at The Ballhaus'. As our review noted on its release as a single, it has a more dark and melancholy feel than TSRO's previous releases (and the rest of this album) - and the accompanying video set in a haunted house is authentically gothic.

The Ballhaus is the calm before the storm, the settler before the session. After it, as one of the greatest samples by one of the finest of DJs informed/instructed us: "We're gonna have a good time. We're gonna have a party."

The second track We Go Like This wouldn't have been out of place as a prime Andy Weatherall post acid house cut, driven along by a drum machine which insists you dance while chewy synths and cowbells force your arms to the skies. It could be a manifesto as the album does indeed continue like this.

Just as Loaded was a remix of a previous Primal Scream guitar track, Fallen Devil (the second single from the LP) discofies a previous garage punk track I Don’t Want To Know What’s Her Problem to the point that it wouldn't be out of place in Studio 54.

As one purchaser of the vinyl noted on a social media post 'this is a Saturday night album'. More specifically Saturday night in a club through a huge sound system. Dirty Papers has a massive synth backing with some sub bass begging for big speakers although that applies to most of the album.

An interesting aspect of the LP is that it's not purely electronic with Rob also playing analog drums, guitar and bass which creates a pleasing contrast and textural dynamics. Compare the looser feel of Stop Acting Like Bill Drummond to the pure quantised electronica of In League With The Devil which is like an Aphex Twin/Kraftwerk love child. Two album highlights right there. Along with ... oh ok you get it we like the album all right?!

Dance To The Drum Machine is available digitally on TSRO's Bandcamp page and the vinyl is in our online shop right here:

Side one.

1. The Ballhaus

2. We Go Like This

3. Fallen Devil

4. Dirty Papers

5. I Funded This Inferno

Side two.

1. Stop Acting Like Bill Drummond

2. Mother's Little Helper

3. In League With the Devil

4. Dance To The Drum Machine

5. Go

Other reviews:


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