Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Immaculate Machine drummer Luke Kozlowski speaks to his legs in an intimate and personal way sometimes. He wrote a song about those legs, his trunks, those sticks that keep him upright on the band's latest full-length, Fables. It could be a take on great legs of the past, ones that have endured the brutal and choppy seas and lived to tell the tales. These sea legs that he memorializes, scolds and advises could be those of George Washington, leaning into the bow of a ship. They could be Black Beard's mangled legs, wobbling as his pirate ship cut through the currents toward the next plunder, lo those many years ago.
They're likely just average legs being asked to be brave, to continue doing what they were built and born to do, to act and act strongly on the body's behalf. Having them conditioned to sustain the poundings and the turbulent motions of the open seas could come in handy though. Should you have to ask them to do something out of the ordinary, temper them with adverse conditions, unsuitable temperatures on the barest of leg skin, make them suffer just a little bit, for the greater good. Kozlowski sings about not being able to deal with the changing of the tides as easily as he'd like to deal with them. He insists that they make perfect sense theoretically in "C'mon Sea Legs," but that he's not biting. He won't go along with the tides, just because everyone else does. That's for the monkey sees and the monkey dos that the world's crawling and buzzing with. He sings, "You're gonna have to learn to love the rocking of the waves," and it's a lesson for all of us, really, to be able to force those flimsy, order-taking legs of ours to man up when the sails tatter and the masts crack in half from the force of it all.
Immaculate Machine is not only about conditioning legs the way kick boxers do, hardening the bone so that the strikes and jabs only sting for a short amount of time. A good song about sea legs and trying to make them work for you though is a good starting point for this Canadian three-piece that doesn't play the standards, doesn't get caught up in rehashing and all of that. Kozlowski, guitarist/singer Brooke Gallupe and keyboardist/singer Kathryn Calder find familiarity in "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" era Belle and Sebastian and travel with the wind-dried melodies of The New Pornographers, but they write songs that have some of that crackle of grungy Seattle, via the 1990s, when Sup Pop was just getting its sea legs there in the salty Northwest. Immaculate Machine is not immaculate, because that takes too much precise want and ambition to accomplish. They're the happy medium that you'd like your machines and legs to live with - those boy and girl harmonies just sticking to their sides like peanut butter and jelly.