Cristian Machado – Hollywood y Sycamore (Album Review)

Cristian Machado – Hollywood y Sycamore (Album Review)

Famously known as the lead singer of well-known Alternative Metal band Ill Niño, Cristian Machado is now using his talents to bring fans his first ever solo album. Very talented, and flying somewhat under the radar, the Brazilian singer is set to release his debut, Hollywood y Sycamore, on Friday, September 25, 2020 through Chesky Records’ sub-label Coconut Bay.

Going in a different direction from his work with Ill Niño, Hollywood y Sycamore comes at you 12 songs that are heavily acoustic-based and feature more defined Latin influence. Introspective, heartfelt, and a very natural progression, most of the songs are between three to four minutes in length, fitting as a package together. Focusing heavily on the songwriting itself, there are plenty of feeling felt throughout the album, brought forth by instrumentation and emoted by Machado’s voice  that should open the door to a larger listening audience than ever before.

Sung in a mix of English and Spanish, Machado blends it all together quite nicely. Weaving in out of both languages seamlessly, tracks like the opener, “Say Hello Again,” the beautiful “Die Alone,” and the haunting “Blame It On Me” really set a mood early on. Furthermore, “Bring You Home,” the flamenco styled guitar on “Good Mother,” and ambience of “Weeds” keep you deeply entranced.

This is all while later on the lengthy “Welcome to the Machine” changes things up, offering an odd, gloomy feeling amidst a mechanical buzzing in the background; a factor that can be a little distracting.  All compelling to dig into, other songs like the completely Spanish sung “Pase Lo Que Pase” and “Corazon En Un Cajon” bring further diversity to the table before the heartbreaking “Numb” wraps up the collection nicely. 

While most songs last between three and four minutes, there is one song that lasts over five minutes, going by the name of “Good Mother,” as well as one six-minute track, “Welcome to the Machine.” Now, the latter is an odd song compared to the rest of the album. While its sounds are odd and gloomy, there is also a mechanical buzzing in the background.

Thoughtful, all of the songs carry deeply felt emotions that will melt the listener’s heart. Topically, the themes are very personal, taken from Machado’s life, and therefore feel very honest and true. Meanwhile, the melodies are quite catchy and have potential to get stuck in one’s head, as most are easy to sing or at least hum along to. However, it is really up to the listeners to actively listen to the intricate nature of this album. 

Overall, Hollywood y Sycamore is quite a different album than one would expect coming from the former Ill Niño leader, but it sure is a beautiful one. A new chapter in his life, Machado does a good job of crafting a lovely soundtrack and that is Cryptic Rock gives the album 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

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Nina Mende
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