Review Summary: Between their self-titled album and Dragons, Motek made an unforgettable stop along the way at Port Sunshine.
Motek spares no expense in describing their sound in their MySpace biography: "...sultry recollections of forgotten emotional states. Chaos, coincidence and stubbornness..." Though most often described as post-rock by third parties (in what elusive articles you might find about this Belgian anomaly), there is a far bigger picture being painted in Port Sunshine. Forgive me, but I'm about to trump their own borderline hyperbole. Anomaly is a word I chose very carefully to describe Motek and their music. In science fiction, anomalies range from being disruptions in the space-time continuum to wormholes to distant reaches of the universe. Robert A. Heinlein used the term liberally in the 1950's to describe access points or shortcuts to hyperspace travel. In layman's terms anomaly might evoke a sense of the mysterious, chaotic, undefined, unique, or extraordinary. Something that exists in the realm of the ordinary yet contains qualities that defy practical explanation. So let's take a wormhole ride to Port Sunshine.
The album begins with three equally engaging tracks which are the most palatable to a wider audience. Opener "Resist" does well to set the tone. The rhythm section takes an early lead and remains a crucial element to the overall sound of the album. The track highlight is a superb vocal-led crescendo which serves as a bridge back into the chorus. The bass shines on "Combi Collina," one of the few Motek tracks to have a music video (along with the following track, "Tryer") The first 35 seconds of this track conjure The Moon & Antarctica-era Modest Mouse with perfection, but that comparison is lost in the synth-laden psychedelic post-rock that follows. "Tryer" is one of Motek's most successful tracks and is considered by the band to have been their gateway to "a wider, radio-minded audience." Combining uptempo beats and bass lines with post-rock tendencies, Motek creates a charged, climactic and unforgettable listening experience.
The album switches pace slightly through the middle of the album and there is more room for exploration. "Sevves º Confetti Girl" and "Another Seamans Song" are dynamic tracks, ditching the steady rythyms that dominate the previous tracks. The former benefits from the addition of female vocals and a striking finale while the latter, an instrumental track save for wordless vocals near the end, explores a variety of sounds and effects. "Immer Blei" despite being the shortest track on the album at 3 minutes 23 seconds, and despite it being another instrumental, is one of the more compelling pieces on the album and brings qualities of Boris's diverse New Album to mind.
The three longest tracks are stacked at the end of the album. This could easily have been the album's biggest structural downfall if it weren't for the quality of those 20+ minutes combined. Devoid of vocals and focusing on hypnotizing reverb-laden guitars, groovy bass lines, sweeping cymbals, and moments of instrumental convergence creating what I can only describe as "soaring static," "Corvo" is a breathtaking and frankly humbling piece of music. I consider it the climax of the entire album at the risk of overshadowing the finale, "Carnivale" which wraps the album up subtly, with a brief but dazzling climax that fades slowly into the aftermath of a musical supernova.
Gently we are transported back to Earth. We know we've been somewhere, but we can't put our finger on exactly where. Some alternate universe of "forgotten emotions" ... "chaos, coincidence." An anomaly for sure, some peculiar and captivating thing that affects us in tangible yet uncertain ways.