On September 25th, legendary ex-Ill Nino vocalist Cristian Machado unveiled a completely new side to him with the release of “Hollywood y Sycamore” via Coconut Bay/Chesky Records. This record has so much to say and many emotions to convey.
On a personal note and brief digression, I remember seeing Ill Nino open for Sevendust at McElroy Auditorium in Waterloo. I remember seeing a young kid kneeling on top of the barricade and singing every Ill Nino song at the top of his lungs. He had the look of anger mixed with liberation in his face. For some reason, although I never met the kid, the emotions that he conveyed resonated with me. This showed me immediately that Cristian Machado was able to allow his fans to unleash their aggression in a positive fashion during his days as the frontman of Ill Nino.
Let’s fast forward to 2020. The world seems a little darker and people have this yearning for music that is authentic and having lyrics and notes speak to their soul. Cristian Machado accomplishes this with his honest vocals, serene arrangements, and by infusing Latin elements in the music. Cristian has a voice that causes the listener to stop what they’re doing and pay attention to what he has to say. In songs such as “Die Alone” and “Blame It On Me”, Cristian takes these emotions that are bottled up and invites you in to come feel what he’s feeling. These songs have a feeling of brokenness and a feeling of accepting what is lost, whether that would be a relationship or just loss of a loved one. The percussion in “Blame It On Me” coupled with the subtle vocals in the outro caused my spine to tingle a bit.
Every great song needs a good attention getter, case in point in “Bring You Home”. The guitars and the strings coupled with Cristian’s voice feels pure and honest. “Pase Lo Que Pase” and “Corazon En Un Cajon” allows the listener to examine the musical roots of Cristian and I must tell you about the strings in “Pase Lo Que Pase”, I wish they would’ve sustained a bit longer because they brought a new life to Cristian Machado as a musician and songwriter.
This album is so damn good. Just so damn good. “Hollywood y Sycamore” by Cristian Machado is just a brilliant listen the whole way through. You must pick up this album. Check out the track listing below:
- Say Hello Again
- Die Alone
- Better You Know
- Blame It On Me
- Bring You Home
- Good Mother
- Pase Lo Que Pase
- How Can I Live
- Welcome To The Machine
- Corazon En Un Cajon