Motorpsycho
The Tower


4.1
excellent

Review

by insomniac15 STAFF
September 10th, 2017 | 45 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A massive record that takes the best from past journeys and moves on...

Following their own gnarly sonic path for almost 30 years now, Motorpsycho continue to push forward at breakneck speed. With drummer Kenneth Kapstad on board since 2007, the band entered an admirable winning streak, releasing one impressive LP after another. Unfortunately, the man departed from the group last year after the Here Be Monsters tour, leaving quite a gap to fill. Nevertheless, the remaining founding members, Bent Sæther & Hans Magnus Ryan forged on, working on a live score for a play called Begynnelser, as well as developing new ideas for further use. In December 2016, Tomas Järmyr of Zu took the duties behind the drum kit and in no time the guys were in the studio recording a new album.

The Tower was produced in the US, where the band alternated between Los Angeles and Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree for the heavier material and laid back cuts, respectively. Needless to say, due to the personnel and scenery change, the music took a slightly different direction too. Weirdly enough, the results are at times downright straightforward, however, in the end they cater to all Motorpsycho fans during a stirring, 85-minute span. The title track is a rather cocky rocker * la Heavy Metal Fruit, but several influences from more recent LPs are intertwined as well. The glorious main riff gives way to the pounding verses and an epic mid-segment with fiery guitar solos. The sparse but uplifting vocals are a big plus taking the composition to the next level. Next is ‘Bartok of the Universe’, a pile driving tune with trademark sharp guitar leads from Ryan. Tomas goes off with his fills during the main grooves, occasionally reminiscing Brann Dailor’s (Mastodon) style. This really cool momentum is kept through ‘A.S.F.E.’’s meld of krautrock-meets-acid-rock. This scorcher features energetic riffs and catchy gang vocals, creating a hazy party atmosphere altogether.

From here on, The Tower expands to fully fledged psychedelia and proggy territory. Both ‘Intrepid Explorer’ and ‘A Pacific Sonata’ start quiet, offering some smooth moments before growing into prolonged jam sessions. The circular riffs that define the latter half of ‘Intrepid Explorer’ are augmented by abstract synths and guitar-laden effects. Meanwhile, the lovely lounge outings of ‘A Pacific Sonata’ get cut off by a boogie-inspired bass line which allows Järmyr to experiment (go nuts) with his patterns. There is less overcrowding on this album than usual and that is a positive aspect in my opinion. Until recently, Motorpsycho have gone several times over the top with the arrangements (don’t misunderstand this statement, the results have been excellent for the most part), so this change allows for different kinds of diversity or dynamics. On the contrast, ‘Stardust’ & ‘The Maypole’ are subdued psychedelic folk ditties that add to the summery vibes the record boasts. Their pastoral feel complete with campy vocals bring another side to an already rich sonic canvas. In between them, lies the groovy monster ‘In Every Dream Home (There’s a Dream of Something Else)’ that seems ripped straight out of the early ‘70s hard rock scene. The chunky bass does half of the work on this track, whereas the guitar goes from flashy solos to powerful rhythm chords. Halfway, a toned down part emerges, accompanied by lovely flute embellishments, recreating a vintage sound fans will definitely love.

As we reach The Tower’s final stretch, ‘The Cuckoo’ & ‘Ship of Fools’ offer us a recap of all we’ve heard so far. The former’s heavy, repetitive riffage alongside almost shouted lyrics are joined by succinct wind and brass instruments, while the latter is a sprawling 15-minute climax. From the glockenspiel notes that start, we’re soon led into a wandering journey full of passages. Ultimately, the first half feels uplifting when compared to the tensed paranoia of the second. Organs take over the soft croons, leaving the guitars and drums to rage behind them. The song reminisces the crazy peaks of ‘Big Black Dog’ from Here Be Monsters or ‘Hell Part IV-VI’ from Behind the Sun and I couldn’t be any happier about it.

Overall, as expected, this album is a massive piece that requires time to truly sink in. There is plenty to enjoy here and its sunny atmosphere is, so to speak, only occasionally blocked by clouds. For your yearly Motorpsycho fix, this is a magnificent journey. Although initially I was prepared to dismiss it in favor of the (in my opinion) brilliant Here Be Monsters and its peaceful beauty, I was taken aback by the grooves and attention to details here. Whether you’ll be practicing your air guitar moves on the heavy songs or unwinding to the acoustic numbers, everything here is really well executed. I am curious how people will react to The Tower, because its scale is on par with Behind the Sun and The Death Defying Unicorn. In case you need more than these 85 minutes of music, the band prepared The California EP as well for the upcoming fall tour. It's crazy how much material they create and none of it is lackluster.




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user ratings (56)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2017


4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Another excellent album from Motorpsycho, I really admire their continuously excellent output.



These are the only streaming songs I found online so far:



'A.S.F.E.' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rs_tKGAAVM

'Every Dream Home' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDQGcER9nVU

Digging: Wordclock - Heralds

Sabrutin
September 10th 2017


4635 Comments


Props for the (great) review, I kinda forgot that this came out already! Just streamed the t/t on Spotify and this seems like clear AOTY material if the quality and variety are high throughout the remaining ~75 minutes

EDIT: well damn the beginning of Bartok is nothing short of promising too!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2017


4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Thanks! The first three tracks are stellar. 'A Pacific Sonata', 'Ship of Fools' and 'Every Dream Home' slay too. The acoustic ditties are probably the least interesting tunes overall, but they are nice nevertheless.

Papa Universe
September 10th 2017


8855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh damn, new Motorpsycho?

Digging: Gattopardo - Gattopardo

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2017


4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Yup. 85 minutes of new Motorpsycho

Sabrutin
September 10th 2017


4635 Comments


Man this band is something else. I only heard Here Be Monsters, Blissard, some random songs and so far about half of The Tower, but I swear they're always ace

TheSpaceMan
September 10th 2017


9784 Comments


Niiice good rev, my after irma jam it seems

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2017


4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

@Sabrutin - Check Behind the Sun, Still Life with Eggplant, Phanerothyme and Heavy Metal Fruit asap. They are awesome!



@TheSpaceMan - Your area was hit by Irma?

TheSpaceMan
September 10th 2017


9784 Comments


Not yet, I'm in tampa

bloc
September 10th 2017


45331 Comments


Gotta hear this. The artwork is nice.

Digging: Flotsam and Jetsam - Doomsday for the Deceiver

ChaoticVortex
September 10th 2017


513 Comments


New Motorpsycho? Wow, these guys are don't just sit around do they. Artwork is great, I'm sure the labum will be good too.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2017


4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

@TheSpaceMan - I saw it's gonna hit Florida very soon and the storm's still heavy af. Will you leave the area during the storm? (I saw some are preparing themselves, so I guess they'll stay home and wait for it to pass?)

Sabrutin
September 10th 2017


4635 Comments


What a voyage, this album.

"Check Behind the Sun, Still Life with Eggplant, Phanerothyme and Heavy Metal Fruit asap. They are awesome!"
I think I may end up going chrono whenever I have the chance, they look like a binge-worthy band

brainmelter
September 10th 2017


4746 Comments


Sweet

Digging: Outre - Ghost Chants

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2017


907 Comments


Checked out here be monsters because of you (skeptically) and loved it. Will check this out with total confidence.

Digging: Blood Cultures - Happy Birthday

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2017


4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Awww, I'm happy you liked it! This has some similar moments, but owes more to LPs like Behind the Sun or Heavy Metal Fruit IMO (both are really good too!).

CusmanX1
September 10th 2017


349 Comments


I have listened just Here Be Monsters, and I was surprised of how time pass really quickly when I listen to that record. Not a masterpiece, but there are so many original ideas and after a year it manages to sounds really fresh. Now is the same, I am truly amazed about the simplicity and effectiveness of their style of composition. Plus, the production is good, even excellent considering we're in 2017 and everything is badly produced!

TheSpaceMan
September 10th 2017


9784 Comments


@insom im holding out, boarded some windows and have plenty of food and water. hopefully itll die down a bit before it gets to us around 8pm eastern time. appreciate the concern! its a monster storm

Piglet
September 10th 2017


7467 Comments


sounds like a bucket of fun will have to give this a jamjog

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2017


4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

@TheSpaceMan - Here we don't have anything close to hurricanes, so I can't really know how it feels. I saw on TV Miami is almost all evacuated and the storm rips the trees from the ground. It's crazy! I hope you're getting through this with minimal damage.



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