Evening Machines by Gregory Alan Isakov burns slowly—but where there is friction, there are sparks, too. Isakov, known for his brooding and romantic tracks about nature, nostalgia, and introspection, has been taking his time on this one. Stylistically, Evening Machines is not too far off from The Weatherman—released five years ago—but it is tinged with heavier Americana influences that long-time fans are sure to notice. Both were released via the independent Colorado-based label Suitcase Town Music.
In a lot of ways, this latest record is a sign of a sort of maturation, which isn't always an easy transition. If The Weatherman is the fresh-faced Isakov with a "Suitcase Full of Sparks," Evening Machines is the five o'clock shadow. It's nightfall, after everyone else has fallen asleep and the only company offered are the crickets chirping through the silence. But it's also the lingering hope of the morning, pulling him through and reminding him that that even when you're "down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down," you can come back.
This album takes time to listen to, but payoff comes in the form of frisson at key moments like "Southern Star," which is a reminder that no one knows how to navigate an energetic chorus like Isakov. Another highlight is "Chemicals," a track that is so sparse at times that Isakov's falsetto is almost amplified. Isakov doesn't reinvent his sound in this album, he reignites it—a rare feat for a singer-songwriter not entering the pop or electronic realms.