Whereas fIREHOSE's previous full-length, 1991's Flyin' the Flannel, was about succinct songwriting and contained a somewhat polished production, 1993's Mr. Machinery Operator was more raw sounding and unpredictable -- almost as if the trio was going for a garage band sound. Dinosaur Jr. singer/guitarist/leader J. Mascis produced the entire album solo, which, expectedly, leads to a more rough, in-your-face sonic approach. Although fIREHOSE guitarist Ed Crawford was the trio's primary vocalist, Mascis convinced Watt to sing more often than on past albums. Like his bass playing, Watt's vocals are in the extreme low register, as evidenced by such highlights as "Formal Introduction," "Herded Into Pools," "Quicksand," "Powerful Hankerin'," and the tranquil album closer, "The Cliffs Thrown Down." Other standouts include the barely containable rage of "Rocket Sled/Fuel Tank" and the instrumental "4.29.92" (the latter featuring sound effects from the L.A./Rodney King riots), and perhaps the album's best track, Crawford's "Blaze." After the ensuing tour for Mr. Machinery Operator was completed in 1994, Watt broke up the band, citing that they had become "used to each other in a bad way."
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato