Review by Ellen Eldridge
The Extraordinary Contraptions, a band founded in 2007, appeared in my world as if by time machine at the Strange Daze festival in August 2009. Shortly after that—by less than a month—the band appeared at DragonCon where its steampunk vide melted into the surrounding framework. Recent appearances for The Extraordinary Contraptions included AnachroCon, S.T.E.A.M.Fest, The Steampunk Empire Symposium, opening for the North Fulton Drama Club’s production of “The Tempest,” and the Steampunk World’s Faire in Piscataway, N.J. This is a band making Atlanta proud with its inspiring resume.
Now, with the release of the band’s third album, The Time Traveler’s Constant, The Extraordinary Contraptions carve out a niche in Atlanta’s rich music scene. The combination of melodic strings juxtaposed against sharper tones in the introductory tracks, “A Traveler’s Consternation” and “Hollow.” Toward the end of “Hollow” the vocal melodies smooth out and the beauty behind the machinery starts to awaken. “Paste” combines vocal harmonies and swoons throughout much of its piano-driven moments. Listening to the interjected tracks like “An Unexpected Visit” and “A Pirate Plots Vengeance” adds a theatrical quality mirrored by the samples used in electronic music; Trent Reznor’s legacy time traveled to a new medium of chaotic presentation. “Hinderscipe’s Lament” directly correlates to the steampunk style and history.“Bled Soul” picks up the pace and recalls a more soulful sound as if elements of rhythm and blues inspired this song. “Crimson Heart” bleeds out among dynamic drums and riveting guitar riffs. The time traveling continues as The Extraordinary Contraptions take pieces of everything encountered to make its music.
This Thursday, pick up the latest from The Extraordinary Contraptions if you dare to delve deeper into the sounds of steampunk or if you like stringed instruments twisted into its own kind of jazz, smoothed over with melody and just enough jarring to keep you paying attention.
Along with the album release, the band will be performing on the Hyatt main stage at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday night and have plans for the entire weekend, which include an elaborate float in the Dragon*Con parade and panel appearances on the Alternate History track. “We took a year off last year, and we plan to come back in full force this year,” said bassist Dimitri von Stadberg. For more information, visit theextraordinarycontraptions.com