Pat Coyle is a Pittsburgh singer/songwriter who makes introspective guitar ballads tinged with a subtle electronic sheen, the organic and digital joining forces to support a truly arresting voice.
“The Machine,” the first track on Coyle’s newly released Iridescent Cues, opens with swirls of reversed synth and ghostly melodic whispers underpinned by a beat that ticks along like a slowed clock. It sure sounds like Coyle is singing about the television, and he does so in delicate fashion, at times slipping into an easy, Jeff Buckleyian falsetto that quivers with controlled emotion. If the lyrics are in fact about the tube, then consider me moved by a topic I never thought I’d find moving. As the track builds, synthesized chimes fade into the picture as the beat becomes slightly busier. When the music pauses for a second, you can almost imagine “The Machine” taking the easy way out and exploding into some sugary beat drop featuring a wordless vocal sample being stretched and pitched every which way. Instead, the same clocky beat and Coyle’s shimmering guitar amble back in, and Coyle lets his voice do the heavy lifting, unleashing a feathery, meandering run of high notes that has the effect of a drop (pardon my use of 2013-2015 dubstep lingo) without any of the histrionics. The song remains excellent from that showstopping point onward, but that was the moment that sold me on “The Machine” and on Iridescent Cues as a whole.
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