CD Review: Megan Slankard “Running on Machinery”

San Francisco, California-based Indie Rocker Megan Slankard has been making music for over fifteen years having put out her first album of Lady is a Pirate back in 2001. That album helped to promote Slankard’s style which seems to incorporate influences such as Ani DiFranco, Lisa Loeb and Alanis Morissette. Since then, Slankard has added to that release with three other CDs which includes her latest album entitled Running on Machinery.

Like Slankard’s last release of A Token of the Wreckage that incorporated different styles into the tracks that made up that release, Running on Machinery also makes use of Rock and Roll, Jazz, Folk and other styles to help create an Indie Rock sound that ensures plenty of variety in the music found on the album. With the fact that the new release from Megan Slankard has a very similar feel to it as far as the songs themselves are concerned, it should come as no surprise that Slankard used the same core group of musicians to help her bring the album to life.

Just like with A Token of the Wreckage, Slankard is once again joined by Danny Blau, James Deprato, Jeff Symonds and Kyle Caprista who each added to the album by contributing several different elements each to the tracks while other musicians join in as well to add even more texture and energy to the songs.

Running on Machinery from Megan Slankard begins with perhaps the hardest hitting track of the release, “Bones Live Forever”. The song begins with an acoustic guitar and Slankard’s vocals as she creates a light, almost folk-y feel to the music. Soon, the rest of the instruments join in and the song picks up a lot of energy. The resulting track is a Rock and Roll song that has a very strong groove to it.

With the next song, Megan Slankard seems to revisit the feel of the songs that were included on her 2012 release of A Token of the Wreckage. The song “Diving In” contains lyrics and music that would have felt right at home with the twelve songs that were on that previous album. And with the musicians being exactly the same on each album, the track could easily have been an extra song that did not make it. “Diving In” is one of the tracks on the Running on Machinery album that feels ready for the radio.

On the track “825,” Slankard creates an Indie Rock song written around many different things that one number could represent. Whether a time of day, number of fleas, or an amount of money, one number could mean anything. The bluesy music of the track becomes something much more when the strings are added to the music. “825” is one of the more creative tracks on the album.

Next, Megan Slankard creates one of the best tracks on the album in “Lost Together”. The track features a pop-rock feel to the music that even contains a little jazzy feel to the guitars in the song. One of the more unusual aspects of the song is the fact that the bass guitar on the track is so far in the background that is feels like there isn’t a bass on the track. And while the nearly total absence of the bass on the track makes the song feel somewhat hollow, you come away realizing that you don’t really miss the bass all that much. “Lost Together” is one track on the Running on Machinery album that will catch your ear because of the commercial potential of the music.

Just when you finish listening to one of the most commercial tracks in “Lost Together,” Megan Slankard continues that listener-friendly style in the next track of “If I Knew”. With this track, Slankard changes the direction of the music as “If I Knew” features enough of a twang in the music to make it a perfect candidate for a crossover hit. The Country/Rock combination in the music and the sadness contained in the lyrics feel like a great combination that could lead to the song being a smash hit.

Like the song “Diving In” earlier in the album, the track “Like Always, Alex” finds Slankard revisiting styles from earlier in her discography. “Like Always, Alex” feels very similar in lyrical content and vocal content to that of Slankard’s earlier song of “Riley”. While the two songs have enough differences to ensure that one does not sound exactly like the other, there are definite similarities.

Megan Slankard brings her newest release of Running on Machinery to a close with the track “Next to You (A Nuclear Love Song)”. While some of the tracks on Slankard’s album feature strings, this track contains Slankard’s beautiful voice matched up with her ukulele and string arrangement. Listening to the beauty of the arrangement, you can tell that, along with being a talented singer and musician, Slankard is also a fine arranger. The laidback feel of the folk-like track brings Slankards’s newest album to a close on a light note.

Like 2012’s A Token of the Wreckage, Megan Slankard’s Running on Machinery focuses on many different musical elements that help to give her music a lot of depth and variety. And just like the 2012 album, Slankard’s newest release is a solid album from beginning to end.

Check out the song “Bones Live Forever” from Megan Slankard by clicking on the link.

To purchase a copy of Megan Slankard’s Running on Machinery, click on the photo below: 

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