For every rush of adrenaline there’s the eventual lull. For each euphoric high there’s the comedown to follow. Thunderheads (Aqualamb Recordings) — the debut record of LaMacchia — plays like the 3am winding down of a night of excess. Thrills and sensual desires wedded to a shadow of sadness and introspection.
Perhaps best-known as guitarist for Brooklyn’s powerful and eclectic Hardcore and Jazz infused metal band Candiria, John LaMacchia also has a more reflective musical muse to satisfy.
There’s plenty of variety on the album — from the gloomy, but catchy ‘Put You Down’, to the spacey, electronic ‘It’s All Over Now’. There’s also a natural flow — like a late-night party winding down as it meets the dawn. Lead single — and album opener — ‘Bled Out’ is one of the album’s most propulsive tracks, with something of Doves or My Bloody Valentine about its dreamy, yet stomping rock groove. Through it all LaMacchia carries the music with a smooth melancholic vocal delivery, with hints of gothic songsmiths like Nick Cave and Michael Gira of Swans, alongside an appreciation of the haunting tones of Thom Yorke.
As far back as 2008 LaMacchia channelled his love of artists like Jeff Buckley and Radiohead through his Spylacopa project — at first with collaborators like Greg Puciato (of Dillinger Escape Plan) and Julie Christmas. The project would later become more of a solo venture. Thunderheads however is his first “solo album”. In fact, LaMacchia brings together a great set of musicians on this record — including Kellii Scott (Failure) on drums, Michael MacIvor (Candiria) on bass and Candice Freshko — who sings lead vocal on the Massive Attack evoking ‘Angel’s Delight’.
Fans who only know John LaMacchia through Candiria might be surprised by his more reflective side, but they shouldn’t be disappointed. Thunderheads is a fitting reflection on living life through an isolating global pandemic. There’s darkness, but also light in there. An interesting mix and a very satisfying listen. Release of the album also comes with a book featuring artwork, photos and writings and it is more than just a collection of songs, it is a real lived experience.
Buy the album here: https://lamacchia.bandcamp.com/album/thunderheads
8 / 10