Motorpsycho
Behind the Sun


4.5
superb

Review

by menawati CONTRIBUTOR (92 Reviews)
March 13th, 2014 | 35 replies


Release Date: 03/07/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fuzzy frolics under a kaleidoscopic sun. The Norwegian psychonauts are back with a rollicking beast of a record brimming over with confidence and swagger.

One thing you could never accuse Motorpsycho of doing is settling into a groove. Over their prolific 25 year career the Norwegian trio have incorporated such disparate elements as grungy alternative rock, jazz, psychedelia, prog and hard rock in their music, admittedly with varying degrees of success. The 2012 release of the ambitious double album 'The Death Defying Unicorn' found the group venturing about as far into the realms of symphonic jazz and progressive rock as they had ever wandered and proved to be a divisive offering. Since then they have retreated somewhat from the inscrutable airs of that particular opus back into their more familiar territory of psych-fuelled hard rock and jazz pumped jams. 'Behind The Sun', their 16th studio release, finds them in an almost consolidatory mood drawing upon many of the styles they have already explored. So, is this album just another example of an artistically spent force going through the motions, bereft of motivation and zest ? Not a bit of it.

At their best, Motorpsycho seem able to effortlessly blend multiple styles into a seamless flow without so much as a second thought. A case in point is the extended suite 'Hell, part 4-6, Traitor/The Tapestry/Swiss Cheese Mountain' which takes the listener on a sonic adventure through dreamy psychedelia, pastoral prog, urgent hard rock and pounding spacescapes. The skewed rhythms pull you through a landscape of gently swelling mellotron, crunchy guitars and plaintive vocals before erupting into the sort of vacillating rhythmic grooves designed to lift the listener into a heightened state. The performances throughout are tight and focused but the music retains an unforced quality which suggests that these guys have honed their collective musical prowess to near subconcious levels of synergy. There is also a playful exuberance about the more experimental passages and this is exemplified by the instrumental piece 'Kvaestor (Where Greyhounds Dare)'. This particular chunk of unabashed self-indulgence is a gloriously effervescent mash-up of wild rhythms, chaotic widdling and lovingly butchered Iron Maiden steals.

This album isn't all about extended jams and hedonistic musical adventures. Motorpsycho are able to successfully focus their energy into more easily digestible songs which is amply demonstrated on the vibrant rocker 'The Promise' which bubbles over with urgent hooks, insistent Rush style riffing and frizzy lead guitar. The trio's indie-psych leanings of the past re-surface in the downbeat tones of 'Ghost' with its guileless vocal track and fragile melodies which almost manage to conjure the spirit of Sparklehorse mastermind Mark Linkous. The group's innate hard rocking sensibilities also manifest on a number of the tracks including the bluesy fuzzorama 'On A Plate' and the deranged album closer 'Hell Part 7: Victim Of Rock' which is a bedlam of thrusting hard rock riffs, frenzied leads and sheer bloody noise. But whatever style of music these guys deliver the most striking thing about the album as a whole is its brashness and fearless nonchalance.

This is a vigorous pot-pourri of ideas from a group of musicians brimming over with confidence and panache. A morass of stylistic lurches and sonic flights of fancy are held together by a super-glue like web of savvy musicianship, easy swagger and killer chops. Maybe Motorpsycho have indeed settled into a comfortable middle-age and will plow a familiar furrow from now on or maybe they are just having some fun before launching off on another one of their eclectic ventures. Either way, this album is a vital and energetic statement that suggests they will be entertaining us with their particular brand of bold sonic fusion for a long time yet.



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user ratings (40)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Raul Stanciu STAFF (4.2)
An early contender for the best heavy psychedelic album of the year....


Comments:Add a Comment 
menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2014


16112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Promise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8bQcfi-Dww
Magic & Wonder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBlPl1vigKs
Hell part 4-6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izgJClLm_X0
Where Greyhounds Dare excerpt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlbPc8ECebY


Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2014


6276 Comments


Excellent review, mindpos.

Digging: Varathron - Untrodden Corridors of Hades

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2014


16112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks, you dig these guys ?
dont seem much loved on here from what i can tell

Cygnatti
March 13th 2014


21837 Comments


band is borderline unknown here.

Digging: Autechre - Chiastic Slide

Gyromania
March 13th 2014


15967 Comments


there's some wording in the review you can omit for the sake of flow, like here:

At their best, Motorpsycho seem able to effortlessly blend multiple styles into a seamless flow apparently without so much as a second thought.


i'd get rid of 'apparently'

very good review though. never heard anything by motorpsycho before but i'm psyched to check this out

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2014


16112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeh thanks ill zap it, i really need to be leaner, i use unnecessary words too often.

Gyromania
March 13th 2014


15967 Comments


s'all good man, at least you're conscious of it and take the advice people give. i've cut back on
giving constructive criticisms because a lot of times i'm ignored

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2014


16112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yes some people take it the wrong way like you are trying to be arsy or something

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2014


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

awww damn. i wrote my review and never got to finish it in time... i snooze i lose. great review man. the album is awesome.

Digging: TV on the Radio - Seeds

Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2014


1069 Comments


holy shit 'swagger' being used in a psychedelic rock review












awesome

Mad.
March 14th 2014


4059 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@insomniac You could still post it ya know, boost people's interest even more. I'd be interested to read it!

Awesome review Mena, I really wanna check this. TDDU was incredible and Still Life was awesome too

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2014


7430 Comments


Amazing review, Mena. Their previous disc did very little for me. I'll check this out.

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

RVAHC13
March 14th 2014


598 Comments


Great Review! Nice to see this band on the front page

Digging: Morgan Delt - Morgan Delt

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2014


16112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks guys, nice to see some motorpsycho fans

@greg - i think this is a lot better than Eggplant, a lot more focused,probably listen to the last track first you might dig that

@insomniac - if I'd realised staffer was going to do this I would have picked something else, please do it though it deserves a staff review

KILL
March 14th 2014


72086 Comments


heard timothys monster, was pretty alright

Digging: Steve Hackett - Out of the Tunnel's Mouth

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2014


16112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is a lot different KILL, timothy monster is sort of indie psych i spose whereas this is heavier
and more prog/hard rock style

Mad.
March 14th 2014


4059 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah Timothy's Monster is barely the same band, you can't have the whole of Motorpsycho on one record

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2014


16112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

some great bits on timothy tho, just too long with many filler

Mad.
March 14th 2014


4059 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, when I listened I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as their other stuff but it's probably a grower. Need to get to this.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2014


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Timothy's Monster's second CD is the best. Also, Blissard and Phanerothyme are two of their best records yet.



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