Album Review: Exponential Crisis by Essential Machine

Essential Machine by Katie Pascarella

Indie rock trio Essential Machine’s new EP Exponential Crisis was released by DIY Pittsburgh label Lemon Tree Records on May 20, 2022. Essential Machine is a nuclear family band consisting of RJ Dietrich (lead vocals/guitar), Kare Dietrich (drums), and their son Robert Dietrich (keys/bass synth/vocals).

Exponential Crisis by Essential Machine
Exponential Crisis by Essential Machine

Exponential Crisis was created by the family while sheltering in place. According to Essential Machine, the seven-track EP finds the band “reflecting on isolation, ambition, and the darker side of what it means to be human.”

A video for the first single from the album “Almost Outta Here” premiered on YouTube on May 20, 2022. This video was shot by Garrett Dulkis, Oliver Rominski, and RK Dietrich. It was edited by RJ Dietrich and Robert Dietrich. The video for “Almost Outta Here” was shot on location in Greensburg. The Greensburg location StopWatch Gallery and Studio is featured in the video. The family is from Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Shooting a video this way is a great way of making use of local locations and supporting your hometown.

When Essential Machine sent me an advanced copy of their album and a link to the new video, I did not know their story. I watched the video for “Almost Outta Here” and immediately connected with the feeling of trying and failing to get out of the area.

Despite the existential nature of Exponential Crisis, it’s infinitely listenable. Some albums with heavy themes pull you down when you listen to them. Exponential Crisis is an upbeat journey instead of a depressing one. While I recommend listening to the full album as it’s an experience, my favorite tracks are “Almost Outta Here”, “Constant Dream”, and “In the Tub.”

You can listen to Exponential Crisis on Bandcamp or Spotify and keep up with Essential Machine on their official website.

Upcoming Show

Essential Machine on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at Gap Park at 4PM during the Millvale Music Festival 2022

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