Laundromat build a colourful machine with ‘Combo’

There are a few ways to get your hands around my beating heart – I quite like those vegan “chick’n” kievs you can get in Tesco, and being bought a pint makes me disproportionately happy, even if it’s Amstel. A couple of other ways involve leading a track with a static but colourful bass-line, pairing it with slightly squashed heist-movie drums, and filling gaps with tastefully occasional screeches of delay, feedback and distortion. 

‘Combo’ is the latest offering from Toby Hayes’ one-man recording project Laundromat, and the track is led by a static but colourful bass-line paired with slightly squashed heist-movie drums, and surrounded by tastefully occasional screeches of delay, feedback and distortion. ‘Combo’ feels delicately and meticulously put together, but not like a jenga tower or a sandcastle – in its oddly mechanical, clockwork quality the track feels more like a Rube Goldberg machine, or a series of interlinked contraptions of unknown purpose that Laundromat has set going and just let run. 

‘Combo’ is laced with delightfully sinewy guitar lines that keep these mechanical intricacies contained. If ‘Combo’ had a bibliography, the stabs and swells of guitar noise and the wiggly-panned slow-attack lines would send you straight to the well-thumbed ‘90s alt-rock playbook (of particular note here is Radiohead’s ‘Palo Alto’). This will only ever be a good thing. 

There’s clearly a hell of a lot of thought put into Laundromat’s production aesthetic and I’m sure I’m not the first journo to point this out. If I’m not mistaken, the drums dart around the centre of the image almost imperceptibly and there’s much gold generated from feedback and delay. The track’s vibe of vibes is one of carefully managed lo-fi colour, and I don’t mean to imply anything is fuzzy or indistinct – the mix is perfectly clear and crisp. However, just enough of that moreish cassette flavour remains that I’m left with an urge to record something on that broken four-track in the cupboard.

Words: Ed Hambly // Photo: Annie Dorrett

‘Combo’ is out now via Brace Yourself Records. Stream and purchase the song via Bandcamp.

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