I'm not a fan of the drum machine unless it's played by Pat, the old lady at the Sip-N-Dip Lounge in Great Falls, or it's strongly muffled by other, less robotic instruments. It's not that I'm against technology. It's just that the drum machine by nature is so conformist that it often seems to purge the life out of even the best songs.
On The Keys Knees' debut album, local musicians Cassandra Rabe and Mikki Lunda fully embrace their drum machine and combine it with accordions. Contrary to drum machines, accordions are easy to love. That's especially true when the instruments are creatively manipulated, like on the 58-second "Twin Peaks," which captures the eerie feel of the eponymous television show, or on "Drawing Picture of 9/11," which lyrically mixes images of mysterious mail, broken plants and lonely holidays, and sounds like something similar to the cat-like mew of Joanna Newsom. On songs like "Romantic Song" and "Heart & Soul," when the drum machine plays a heavy role, the beats seem to paint the otherwise creative duo into a corner.
When the duo disguises the synthetic backbeat—or takes it out of the equation all together—this album is remarkably vibrant.