Who or what is a Machi? Preliminary Google searches bring up little, but one can be sure that I Am Machi is an Edmonton-based, husband-and-wife duo who make some interesting music together. The extremely strange title Mammal Pants comes from the two playing around with the name of one of their influences, Plants and Animals.
The two have a White Stripes setup going, with Nathan Stokland on guitar and vocals and Jileane Stokland on drums and vocals. What they make could be considered rock music, with some pop styling here and there. The four-song EP is an interesting way of introducing themselves, to say the least.
One might get a false impression of what they’re all about from the opening track, “8-8-4, Oh My!” It starts off with blistering guitar, which might immediately make them sound like some kind of grunge/metal act, but getting past the opening chords reveals more of the duo’s inner workings. There’s some nice lyrical content here, such as the line “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my/We know it’s a dragon but that doesn’t rhyme.”
After the full-out guitar attack of the first song, the intensity starts to go down slightly with each song, and this isn’t a bad thing by any means. “Dance Like a Russian Sailor” features some great drumming from Jileane and features a rock-infused chorus of “la la la’s” that sounds like it could be straight out of a Russian folk song.
“Snakes and Ladders” is arguably the catchiest song, with it’s quick drumming and quick guitar to keep pace. Finally, “Sirens,” with its Greek mythological reference, is probably the strongest song on the album, showing a great mingling of Nathan’s guitar with Jileane’s drumming. Later on in the song it revisits the duo’s heavier guitar territory, but it’s more welcome as it comes from a good build.
Jileane and Nathan Stokland are certainly off to a good start with Mammal Pants, especially because they just started making music as I Am Machi last year. Their next step is anyone’s guess, but their guitar/drums combo makes them unique enough to really play around with what they’re capable of. The EP can be downloaded for free from NoiseTrade.
Top Track: “Sirens”
Rating: Young Hoot (Decent)