By Meredith McLean
“It can’t be said that they’ve come any closer back down to Earth, but the album quality has hit the stratosphere.”
The wait is nearly over for The Wisdom Machine – latest sound child of ska punk rockers The Bennies. We’ve given it a once over, twice over and thrice over and have definitively agreed we might not be any wiser but the album was worth the three-year wait. The last album to come from these guys was Rainbows In Space. It can’t be said that they’ve come any closer back down to Earth, but the album quality has hit the stratosphere.
Heavy Reggae is a rollercoaster in the first 30 seconds. Traveling from telephonic airwaves, to high pitched whines before launching into fast guitars and Butthole Surfers-esque sound effects. Seamlessly the chaos transitions into trumpets and a groovy reggae tune we can actually wrap our heads around. Party Machine packs a bit more punch. As the name suggests the party song for your backyard shenanigans is officially here.
Perhaps there is no machine of wisdom according to The Bennies. Maybe the wisdom they’re referring to is a bit more organic than that. Literally, if the two tracks Maybe We Could Get High and Legalise (But Don’t Tax) are anything to go by. Maybe We Could Get High has that reckless and triumphant fun of older ska bands like The Suicide Machines and Rancid.
This isn’t to say they’ve lost the aussie rock identity to punk bloodsuckers abroad. Legalize (But Don’t Tax) is very straya. Likewise, Burnout City doesn’t hide any references to Melbourne and Sydney. O Brother, Where Art Thou? leaves all that behind though and turns the gears down to a nice ska jam. This is the kind of song that you’re dying to know what a full orchestral cover would sound like – all 9 minutes of it. It’s got that kind of feel good vibe.
Something else that’ll give you a feel good vibe is the tour dates! They’ll be tearing up most of Australia for this leg of the album tour, before jetting off to Germany on April 22. Brisbane and Richmond are already sold out, so jump on their website before all dates go.
*****THE BENNIES – WISDOM MACHINE TOUR*****
w/ special guests Off With Their Heads (USA) & Hightime
Presented by Poison City Records & Jackknife Music
Sun March 27 – Club 54, Launceston
Mon March 28 – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
Thur March 31 – Adelaide Uni Bar, Adelaide
Fri April 1 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Sat April 2 – Amplifier, Perth
Sun April 3 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury
Wed April 6 – Transit Bar, Canberra
Thur April 7 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Fri April 8 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Sat April 9 – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
Sun April 10 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore