The Local 913: String Machine
String Machine’s new album Death of the Neon makes anxiety sound absolutely beautiful. That emotional honesty, paired with the group’s dense indie folk sound, makes for a compelling listen.
Front man David Beck describes the album by saying, "It was me searching for something to write about and coming up dry and then thinking about that in relation to my life in general and feeling exhausted, worn out, and too familiar with my surroundings. This album is really about accepting that things gotta change. Sometimes you gotta break the mold and get out of what you’re familiar with." Beck learned to cozy up to that discomfort and embrace change in a big way, moving from his native Saxonburg to Pittsburgh’s Northside.
Lyrically, Beck likes to stumble upon honesty in his writing. "I do a little trick I learned from a creative writing professor I had where I’ll just spitball on a page," he says. "It won’t even make any sense at first, but the more I look at it I’m like, ‘Oops! I didn’t mean to be this real!’ Sometimes it’s kind of embarrassing, too, because you’re just letting it all out there and sometimes you feel like you accidentally gave too much."
Death of the Neon is as dense lyrically as it is instrumentally, but the album’s real inspiration is right there on the cover. Beck says, "We chose the album title – Death of the Neon – because we were like, ‘That could be interpreted so many different ways!’ But it is quite literally in reference to a Dodge Neon I had and how it stopped working. So, with that concept and the album, it’s like, my life changed a lot in the last year!" He was able to get past that car-shaped hurdle and turn his defense mechanisms into smart, engrossing songs like “Eight Legged Dog” which he describes as, "The song that’s supposed to lyrically express the feeling of emotional callus. The double-edged sword is that maybe you can’t feel anything anymore. You might be protected from the bad, but you’re also protected from the good feelings, too."