Album Review: Mari Dangerfield – Love And Other Machines

Love And Other Machines is the debut album of London-based alternative pop singer songwriter Mari Dangerfield. As you can tell from its title, it’s not your ordinary catalogue of love songs.

By Graeme Smith

Feature Photo by Paula Llagostera

The album opens with Love Machine which has a bright and breezy feel that develops into an electronic disco groove by the time the first chorus hits. Mari’s vocals are unlike anything I’ve heard before, haunting yet charismatic. They’re mellow but somehow work well with the upbeat nature of the instrumentals. From this opening, I knew I’d be in for a treat.

The Stars Were Wrong comes next, a subversive and experimental track that takes on the sanctity of astrology. Mari’s vocal become suitably cosmic and the instrumentals become an electronic tapestry. Arrow comes next and continues the theme of subversive love stories with tales of romantic films, complex percussion and a bombastic chorus. Then, it’s the introspective Compass, delicately soulful and lyrically pondering on heartbreak.

One of the key themes of the album is how technology impacts us as humans and it’s evident in the next track – the RnB-meets-opera-infused Virtually. Mari first grew to prominence through YouTube with her Stylophone covers of famous songs. It’s here that the instrument makes its first cameo. It’s an album highlight.

Sticking with the topic of technology, the next two tracks are Screen Time and Webcam. The former is lyrically nihilistic, and has a big, layered chorus with hints of industrial in the verse. The latter provides a counterpoint, brimming with hope and a desire for human connection.

Somebody is a surprise analogue interlude, driven by gentle keys and full of soft vocal harmonies. Hardwired starts similarly minimal and eases back into Mari’s electronic world. It builds to a dramatic, musical-style climax in the chorus.

The closing trio of tracks sees Mari cement the central themes of love, technology and mental health. Dear Admirer speaks of love, though this time of the toxic variety. Coping Mechanism speaks of mental health, particularly social withdrawal. 1 Like speaks of technology, and how it can connect. It ends the album with a wonderfully unexpected positive note.

Love And Other Machines was, put simply, a joy to listen to from start to end. Mari Dangerfield has a frank and refreshing approach to song writing, and her sound feels like nothing else out there right now. I’m so glad to have discovered this album. You can check it out below.