April 6, 2005

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Hot Buttered Rum, Well-Oiled Machine
Harmonized 2006

After the first listen of Well-Oiled Machine, Hot Buttered Rum’s second studio album, one person in earshot described it as “happy hippie music.”

Most in this reviewer’s household did not get through the second listen.

That the members of Hot Buttered Rum are talented and well-versed in their instruments there is no doubt. But technical proficiency does not a good album make, not even a good bluegrass album.
Well-Oiled Machine, named after the group’s biodiesel powered bus, reeks of chipper earnestness and pep. Even the songs about lost love are upbeat, like the musicians wrote them under the influence of powerful anti-depressants.

Maybe it’s as the musicians say, that Well-Oiled Machine reflects a “wild and exuberant time,” but the mixture of sugar and spice is cloying. And, eventually, the gag reflex checks in and it’s all over.

Listening to individual tracks is fine but taking in all of Well-Oiled Machine in one sitting is like binging on Pixie Stix, Slushies, Mountain Dew and Skittles for an hour. C
— Robert Greene


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