Album Review: Daniel Machado

Guest Post By Stephen Russ (The Fire Tonight)


“I’m terrified to find out who I am”

These words are found in the title track of Daniel Machado’s self labeled “16 song rock opera” Themes In American Friction.  The lyric represents a huge selling point of this hour plus musical opus – the baring of the soul of a musician who has been involved in the Columbia music scene since high school.  Daniel invites the listener to observe the events of his life from his perspective, providing a unique story that is not veiled in abstract poetry but rather revealed piece by piece to the listener.

This balance is what makes the introspective effort special.  Machado doesn’t hide himself behind metaphors, but he also doesn’t make the mistake of being trite.  Even a simple lyric about passing chemistry class serves to further the intended emotion of a song about the passing of one’s high school years.  This album is not merely a traditional rock effort though.  With the intention of each song being to reflect its lyrics the album segues gently from intense rock songs to calm folk tracks.  Perhaps these songs are where the album shines most – Daniel has clearly progressed from his energetic rock roots to an extremely solid writer that uses many forms to communicate his message.

If you have followed Daniel’s career for the past four years you have almost certainly heard a few of these songs before, but don’t let that keep you away.  Hell, it has 16 tracks worth of music!  Daniel and producer Corey Plough took many steps to provide every song with numerous intricacies and background effects.  Machado’s violin skills play an integral role in providing creepy trills and beautiful melodies.  This is an album that you can enjoy both blasting in the car and listening intently on headphones, a true accomplishment for a homegrown effort.

Whether you find common ground in the morbid honesty of Cynical Son, the tales of heartbreak in See You In My Dreams, or hope in final track Jessie, the Usher – Daniel has provided a diverse musical backdrop to tell you about his life in a way that makes it personal to the listener.  This is a unique listen from start to finish, exhibiting the range of one of Columbia’s most interesting musicians.

-Stephen Russ

(When Stephen Russ isn’t kicking out the beat for The Fire Tonight he finds time to focus on getting his Masters Degree from Wake Forest.  Stephen also likes long walks on the beach, fun, sarcasm and Boyz II Men. He is also married to his lovely wife Erin who never misses a chance to rock out to The Fire Tonight)  🙂