In the past, true rock n’ roll was never defined as much by the sophistication of an arrangement or even the melodicism of the hook – it was all about the brawn and the mentality of the players. While there have been several changes in rock through the past half-century, a new generation of artists is starting to strip away the conceptualisms that led to a fractured sound vulnerable to rushed commercialization and a lyrical soullessness few could tolerate on the mainstream level in the 21st century – La Need Machine among them. La Need Machine came to rock out in the tradition of their ancestors in the new rock ballad “Maria” this summer, and with the support of critics around the world, they’ve become one of the more talked-about acts to emerge from the

scene and within the rock genre in quite some time.


“Maria” has all the trappings of an emotional classic rocker with one big exception – its harmonies never play second fiddle to the size of the groove its singer straddles with ease. While the beat is more of an implied point of grandiosity in this single, the actual movement of the music is such a strong focal point that it’s easy to get hypnotized by the synchronicity here, if not outright enamored by the evenhanded strut of the band as they ascend melodic heights all too simply. There is a natural talent and chemistry, and it’s hard to debate as much after listening to a striking ballad as well-appointed as this one happens to be.

Where the mix doesn’t lend a lot of space to the backend of the melody in “Maria,” we find a rather relaxed guitar rock machismo filling the edges in this performance and providing us as romanticized a vibe as a six-string can produce without the plush backdrop of a larger than life bottom end. It doesn’t feel devoid of color, but the ease of the construction here is something that has more in common with the blue-collar rock of yesterday than it does anything in the minimalist movements of 2023, the latter of which finding a strange way of influencing some of the rivals La Need Machine has faced in and outside of their immediate scene.

La Need Machine is still a very fresh face on the mainstream level, but what they’ve teased us with in their most emotive single thus far is more than enough to convince me that they’re onto something worth keeping an eye on in “Maria.” This track has a classic profile it shamelessly flaunts like rock is going out of style all over again, and to me, it says more about the integrity of these players than it does the kind of bands they grew up listening to and taking something from. There’s no need for filler when you’ve got the substance that a song like “Maria” does, and La Need Machine accordingly keeps it fat-free in this performance, much to the pleasure of critics like myself and countless new fans.

Garth Thomas