Immaculate Machine: now with more rawk

By Jordyn Marcellus

After Brooke Gallup, guitarist/vocalist of Immaculate Machine, learned that his former bandmates were leaving the group — keyboardist and vocalist Kathryn Calder due to family issues and drummer Lukelowski because of school — he suffered a sense of loss. The power trio had gone on the road numerous times together, created four albums and gained critical acclaim with every new disc.

But, with the newest Immaculate Machine LP High on Jackson Hill, Gallup spent his time in the studio recording with a multitude of people, including his own sister Caitlin.

“The album has some line-up changes for sure, but the touring band is flexible,” he says. “[Caitlin Gallup] plays bass and does back-up vocals. She’s been involved with other albums, too, she sang a lot of backup vocals on previous albums and has always done our artwork for album covers.”

Now the band is Brooke Gallup’s baby, with a rotating cast of characters helping him on the road. It’s not the perect situation for Gallup, but he has made the best of it, an experience he finds more rewarding.

“I was disappointed at first that Kathryn wasn’t able to tour with us, so I was upset that I wasn’t able to make the album we wanted to make initially — Fables number two, the straight-line from one album to the next. We were planning on following on that and perfecting that and then I think it was maybe the right thing to happen in the band’s career, for everything to be turned upside down. It would really get boring I think.”

One thing to note — the band hasn’t become the Brooke Gallup Experience, with one auteur songwriter dictating the music to the rest of the group like Anton Newcombe and his authoritarian direction of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Initially, though, it was still quite unfortunate to lose his two friends.

The band has gained a few new members during its reforming. There’s a second guitarist, Jordan Minkoff, who helps keep Brooke Gallup rocking live.

Where the old trio used to be much more focused on power pop with a new-wave tinge, the newest version of the group focuses more on the rock-side of pop-rock. These changes have reflected in the band’s sound; Gallup explains that there is some continuity in the band’s music from previous albums — Jackson Hill sounds similar, but is still different than a straight-up continuation from their original sound.

“I sort of struggled with that initially,” says Gallup. “When I listen to [Home on Jackson Hill] it’s nothing too different from what we’ve done previously. It’s certainly a shift and people that were expecting the exact same thing were surprised. The songwriting is still the same, more or less, except there’s some positive changes I think, I mean, it’s just not the exact same album.”

This new line up has also given Gallup a chance to perform more like a rock star. Where before he had to concentrate on playing guitar parts without any back up — which required razor sharp focus — thanks to Minkoff, he can relax, have fun and rock out on stage.

“Having a second guitarist means that I’m not having to play as many notes as possible,” says Gallup. “That’s part songwriting and having a second guitarist. I can focus on getting into the music and performing. I started a band one or two years ago called Rugged Uncle which was meant to play goofy songs and get drunk . . . and I took some of the more hammy performance aspects from that band [and] brought them to this band, without the need to get drunk or take it as a joke. It’s just less, y’know, head down sing the song stuff and more of a hand-raising, whatever televangelists do kind of performance.”

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