Sad news yesterday when The Answering Machine announced that they've decided to call it a day in their current form.
In a handwritten note that you can see on their website they state that after some soul searching they have “decided to stop making music as The Answering Machine” and that “it obviously hasn't been an easy decision.”
I first encountered The Answering Machine in the Autumn Term of 2006 in my second year of University. I was working at the Students Union at the time on the technical crew and The Answering Machine came through Fuzz Club (THE indiepop club to end all indiepop clubs) in support of The Rumble Strips. It transpired that this event was my first time behind a lighting desk, and although I can't remember if I operated the lights for the then three-piece the event was the first of many that I would be the 'lampy' for.
After The Answering Machine/Rumble Strips Fuzz Club I went on to do the lights for many many bands (Ash, The Long Blondes, The Futureheads, Dinosaur Pile-Up, The Wombats, Pete And The Pirates, Roots Manuva, Wild Beasts, Matt & Kim to name but a few) in many capacities. But The Answering Machine will always be the first to take to the stage under my lighting rig.
Of course it took them a while to follow up these early gigs with an album. After becoming a four-piece and ditching drum machine Mustafa Beat; Martin, Pat, Gemma and Ben recorded and released Another City, Another Sorry. That was in 2009. The spiky indie rock was at odds with the flacid jangly mainstream of the time and still sounds excellent now. It cemented their place in my heart and made the Keep Pop Loud Top 20 Albums of the Year list.
Around the same time as the list was compiled I reviewed the band's live set for This Is Fake DIY and sadly this would be the second and last time that I'd get to see them live.
Still, with Track of the Week spots for singles 'Animals' and 'Lifeline' their second album was hugely anticipated by the now indiepop centric Keep Pop Loud. It's still one of the best of the year, if not the best. Needless to say Lifeline got a glowing review (the phrase “utterly spectacular “is used) as did the Rarities 2006-2009 EP. Neither seemed like the work of a band who'd given their last.
It's sad that a band split when they're just reaching their stride and we can only wish The Answering Machine well in whatever musical ventures they chose to take up next.
Give us a call guys or at least leave a message.