On ELIZA: The Fear

ELIZA, the debut record from indie-rock trio Handsome Machines, is a catchy collection of songs about the complicated things that happen while stumbling into adulthood, admitting you don’t know what you’re doing, and realizing it’s mostly worked so far.

Stream ELIZA on Apple Music, Spotify, or Rdio.

Stream “The Fear” on Soundcloud

The Fear is the oldest song that Daniel brought to Handsome Machines. It’s about ending a relationship that you know you shouldn’t be in, but you know you could stay in sort of by default. Knowing that because dating is hard and it sucks to be alone, you’ve been willing to put up with things you normally wouldn’t because at least that way you have someone. This knowledge scares the hell out of you and makes you want to blow it all up and run away.

“The Fear” by Handsome Machines. Track seven from ELIZA

A bit of history from Daniel:

I had an acoustic version that I played for a while but was never really happy with how it sounded when I played it live; it just didn’t quite have the energy that I always imagined when I heard it in my head. Once we started honing in on what our sound would be, it seemed like I might finally be able to get what I’d always heard.
Daniel’s acoustic recording of “The Fear”
the sound of gasping
of cold car starting
the sound of engines roaring at your asking
i bet that sound it tucks you in and keeps you warm at night
i bet you never thought i’d turn and set the house alight

The music builds as the story gets more dramatic until it explodes after the second chorus into the guitar solo, which Stephen realized he got a little carried away with after recording it on loop 166 times (!!!) while we were tracking ELIZA.

Sometimes it takes a bit of time and effort to get it right. Daniel:

I only had the first verse for years and years. I always wanted more, but never quite landed on anything until the band started playing it. I was finally able to get something that really matched the feeling and intensity of the first verse. I still can’t believe how good it sounds when I listen to the record — a song that was floating around in my head for seven years or so finally coming to life.

We recorded our first Handsome Machines demos in January of 2014 — eight months after we first played music together and still sixteen months before we’d play our first show. “The Fear” was one of three songs in the first batch of demos (“Had Too Much” and “Another Life” where the others).

The original Handsome Machines demo of The Fear, recorded January 2014

Other articles in the On ELIZA collection:

Handsome Machines is Daniel Patterson (vocal, bass), Peter Browne (drums), and Stephen Bowling (guitar).

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