Allow me to briefly introduce one of my favourite Norwegian groups. They have been around since the 1980s and went through an interesting evolution from an alternative rock group, then more psychedelic metal/hard rock (or stoner rock) oriented, but gradually moved towards more progressive realms (e.g. the 1993 and 1994 double albums Demon Box and Timothy's Monster). From the 2000 album Let Them Eat Cake on, Motorpsycho definitely turned away from their noisy hard rock roots and went a smoother and jazz-influenced route. Since then they have displayed an interesting mixture of psychedelic rock, progressive rock and occasional experiments like with an orchestra and choir on the great concept album The Death Defying Unicorn (2012) and the limited live double album En Konsept For Folk Flest (2015).
I've lost count how many albums (and EPs with unique material) they have made and I'm too lazy to check. Let's just take a quick look at their latest piece of work Here Be Monsters - as usual from the great Rune Grammofon label housed in a fine abstract art digipack cover (and of course available on vinyl too!).
Eerie piano opens the album with the short Sleepwalking and then it's off for the first long (almost 10 minutes) piece Lacuna/Sunrise. This is already the first highlight of the CD with a wonderful Pink Floyd kind of atmosphere (is that a first for Motorpsycho?!), female backing vocals and some great guitar solos. The music is often psychedelic, but not in a heavy or stoner way like they would do in their early days, Just listen to the relaxed, playful and open 5 minute instrumental Running With Scissors. The next track I.M.S. starts with repetitive keyboard patterns that will run through the entire track. While there are typical Motorpsycho elements in there too (like the build up with heavy guitar and pounding bass) it's something that I can't recall hearing from the band before. It is followed by Spin Spin Spin which is a folk-inspired melodic rock song (by this I mean that it sounds as if the track is based upon a folk tune that the band then turned with their own sound). Sleepwalking Again is-like the opener-a not even one minute long piano piece that serves as the prelude for the finale.
Finally, we get the almost 18 minute epic Big Black Dog-typical Motorpsycho. The piece is a bit on the dark side with a somewhat industrial undertone running through it and great tension building up. Eventually it launches into the uplifting ending section and then fading out quietly and acoustically.
As a whole I'm a bit reminded of Gullible's Travels from my favourite Motorpsycho album Heavy Metal Fruit. Another great album!
**** Carsten Busch (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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