Roughly one year after the ambitious, orchestra-assisted collaboration with Ståle Storløkken entitled The Death Defying Unicorn, Norway's most renowned psychedelic/hard rock act, Motorpsycho, delivers their 18th studio effort, Still Life With Eggplant. The music is almost as random as the title sounds, as the band is known for constantly shifting styles from one album to another. However, Still Life With Eggplant is one of their most accessible works, consisting of ideas Motorpsycho wrote in the past 3 years, but couldn't find their place on their last year endeavor. As a result, there are various jazz traces, but most of material here has its' roots in the hard rock sphere. The songs all aim for slightly different directions, none of them classifying as filler, while the melodic, sing-along vocals are usually catchy and memorable. This time, Reine Friske was added as the second guitar player to the line-up to add some boost.
Out of the five tunes, the album's massive progressive piece "Ratcatcher" is clearly the centerpiece; it starts slowly to a fuzzy sing-along, followed by a long, jazzy interlude with more intricate bass and drum lines akin to King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man", while the guitars solo for several minutes. Another sung verse is added mid-point, before ending with another long but gentle, jazz-lounge influenced segment. For Motorpsycho fans, this type of lengthy, complex tracks isn't anything out of the ordinary, as their discography is scattered with them. Still, the execution is flawless, showcasing the results of 24 years of pushing musical boundaries. Also, the two stand-outs bookending Still Life With Eggplant, "Hell, Part 1-3" and "The Afterglow", are contrasting on both titles and sound: "Hell, Part 1-3" borrows from early Sabbath doom riffs, yet the vocal melody is joyful enough to make the listener smile and happily nod his head to the music. Then, out of the blue, this minimalist coda shows up, finishing the track on an unexpected low-key style. "The Afterglow" is a straightforward, mid-tempo country folk tune that feels like an evening walk in the park. The soothing vocals and the acoustic guitar offer some needed peaceful moments without any other gimmicks. Midway, the other instruments kick in, much like a power ballad builds up, and the guitar slide along with the mellotron, add some more beauty to the track, making it a suitable, epic closer.
Still Life With Eggplant winds up as one of Motorpsycho's most straightforward and enjoyable releases. Of course, it might not be a classic any time soon, but their fans and hard rock fans in general will like the record. It's an enjoyable 45 minute ride that doesn't consume the listener, it only wants him to sit back, bang his head to it and have a good time.
Thanks, I really appreciate that :D. I always stay a few days on a review because I write a sketch and always come back to it. I wrote this one in an hour or two.
I haven't checked all their records, but these guys have covered a lot of genres so far, so it only takes time to find at least one or two to enjoy. Still Life With Eggplant is more straightforward and less esoteric.
@ Greg - They have a hell of a discography from what I've checked so far. Maybe Heavy Metal Fruit or Demon Box is more of your thing, but Still Life is great too. I have yet to check some of them.
I like the vocals on Hell and Ratcatcher, but then again I'm a fan of melodic vocals (gang vocals are cool too). They have some issues with live vocals. Sometimes everything goes well and sometimes it's baaaaad.
help me out here. i'm enjoying this thing immensely, i'd even like to write a review but i don't think i could do the album justice. anyway, i'm looking for more stuff like this and i haven't really found anything as remarkable as this in the band's discography. any suggestions as to what i should give a listen? i usually listen to much heavier stuff, but i love motorpsycho's fluffy and jazzy approach on this album.
Glad you like them. They are really diverse and expansive, it's hard to recommend something similar to them as they have branched a lot in the past 20 years and created a style of their own. However, with the jazzy approach, you should listen to Hedvig Mollestad Trio (also from Norway), Jaga Jazzist or 70s stuff like King Crimson, Yes, Genesis or Camel and Frank Zappa (a lot of their stuff is rooted in these musicians' catalog).
Within the realm, check out some Dinosaur Jr., even The Mars Volta (wild approach) or more stoner/psychedelic stuff like Golden Void, Monkey3, Causa Sui, Methadone Skies, Vibravoid, Aqua Nebula Oscillator or The Egocentrics. Still, these bands are similar to some of their stuff. I hope it helps.
Regarding the review, don't worry just write it, make a sketch first and expand it. Use an introduction, body and conclusion and try to be as objective as you can.
thanks for the recommendations, i look forword to checking them out. I do enjoy zappa's hot rats and some mars volta but most of the other bands i've never heard of (except for genesis and yes, which i probably won't check out again, but thanks anyway). good review btw., i was just surprised that you didn't mention barleycorn, since in my opinion (/ears) that song outshines all the others, which is quite an accomplishment. but that's just me of course.
It's a great song, but I don't know, at the time I found the rest more interesting. However, it grew on me and now I dig it as much as the others.
I'm not the biggest jazz fan so I don't think my recommendations are the most accurate, but hopefully you'll hear something closer to Motorpsycho. I think it's more about the patience needed to find the right bands, because there are so many. The 70s prog rock might be closer since it's a direct influence on Motorpsycho.
that's interesting, just the opposite was the case with me, i started out loving barleycorn, now i love all of it. yeah, im not a very patient guy. impatience was actually the reason i joined this site, because i got sick of browsing spotify and youtube for new music (once you've been using youtube for a while their algorhythms start churning out the same stuff over and over again... and anthony fantano can only get you so far). this site is promising though. but so much for that, thanks again!
If you follow reviews and people's lists, you'll find a lot of new music in quite a short amount of time. I could make a 100-band list with what I found through Sputnik, ranging from obscure to renowned stuff that you'll wonder how it'd got past you. The fastest way should be to make a list to ask for recommendations based on a few albums and people will give you stuff.