Essential Machine, a trio comprising two parents and their son, recently released the aptly titled Exponential Crisis (Lemon Tree Records).
Album highlight “Almost Outta Here” taps into the retro road warrior energy of “Red Eyes”-era War on Drugs, riding metronomic drums, swirling guitar, and bargain-bin synths toward the far horizon in search of something just out of reach, kicking up dust clouds in its wake. Where Drugs’ Adam Granduciel delivers his lines in a nasally drawl, Essential Machine frontman RJ Dietrich’s voice soars and yearns, drafting off the backing track the way a bird would a thermal air pocket. His thoughts coalesce around the phrase “almost made it,” the word “almost” signifying either tantalizing potential or bitter regret. The song doesn’t make it clear which reading is correct; the music is so rousing, though, that you don’t need to be sure.