The Breakdown - This Rigged Machine


When former bandmates had a fortuitous reunion after 16 years, The Breakdown was formed. The band capitalised on lockdown restrictions, taking time to reflect on the past and eventually produce their debut album Open The Barricades in 2022.

The name of the album indicated the band’s anticipated introduction to the scene once more, as though they had been waiting years for that very moment. It was full of nostalgia and the attitude from their youth. Open The Barricades brought a twist to the 90s Britpop sound.

Returning off the back of an extensive run of gigs in 2023, The Breakdown released their follow-up album This Rigged Machine last week.

The opening track ‘Ohio’ presents a guitar riff that builds to a tight beat before quickly entering a chorus led by synth melodies. This optimistic and upbeat start sets the mark well for ‘This Rigged Machine’ which was released as a promotional single earlier this year.

When listening in relation to the rest, ‘This Rigged Machine’ clearly follows the hopeful theme that underpins the album. The lyrics of vocalist Mike Connell capture a careless but energetic dating experience that twists and turns between an excited and insecure energy. Still, the longing for “the light” remains. 

‘All I Know’ filters into the biting bass line of Michael McGuinness. A greater reliance on synth effects also evokes the light and melodic tone of the new wave era. This funky rock piece makes a refreshing addition that sees them experiment further afield.  

‘Standing on the Patio’ offers an atmospheric alternative. This more somber track makes a fitting distress call amidst the album’s wider frenetic and funky rock. That said, the song is slow to evolve, as though it is stuck in the same moment or feeling for slightly too long. This is characteristic of other areas of the album too.

Bringing This Rigged Machine to its close, ‘Square 1’ is certainly one of the highlights. A slow, ambient, and wistful opening almost allows for a reflection on everything that came before. This gradually exits into an epic guitar soloing finale that unravels alongside group harmonies.

The sophomore album of The Breakdown retains the retrospective feel of the first. But there is a clear and bold move to test new sounds. This Rigged Machine will undoubtedly help to add more variation for live shows as they prepare for a big 2024. Catch the band at The Amersham Arms in London on Saturday 4 November.