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Motorpsycho: Still Life with Eggplant

Reviewed By: Andrew Carver
Label: Rune Grammofon
Format: CD

After tangling with the epic themes of their collaboration with Stale Storlokken, ‘The Death-Defying Unicorn’, Norwegian power trio Motorpsycho took a bit of a break, heading back to the studio where they recorded some of their earlier albums. There they worked with with a bevy of songs that didn’t suit ‘Unicorn’. Assisted by guitarist Reine Fiske they whittled things down to five tunes which make their debut on ‘Still Life With Eggplant’. If their goal was to simply rock out, they succeeded amply.

‘Hell, Part 1-3’ starts things off with a brisk desert rock stomp that would be right at home on the Small Stone label, complete with some thundering drum rolls courtesy of drummer Kenneth Kapstadt - at least for the first two thirds. Kapstadt lays back a bit with some snare and cymbal beats while Hans Magnus Ryan plays some fuzzy lead.

Next up is a cover of Love’s ‘August’. It is easy to see why one of the California psychedelic combo’s jazziest pieces would appeal to Motorpsycho, with Ryan doing full justice to the electric meltdown of its last bars.

Fiske shows his real worth with the fingerpicking acoustic that opens the bucolic ‘Barleycorn (Let It Come/Let It Be)'. While it starts in sun-dappled fields, it soon makes an excursion for outer space, with Ryan once again giving his electric guitar a good workout.

The band drifts into the 17 minutes of ‘Ratcatcher’ with some incidental, glitchy sounds and twinkling upper-fret guitarwork, along with some echoing bends, before some furious drums jump in to punch up the energy, along with Ryan’s yearning vocal work. Things dip down again for some guitar interplay between Ryan and Fiske that heads into what some might call “experimental” territory before refocussing with some blazing fretwork and thundering drums. A laidback coda brings the song to its conclusion, serving as a mood adjuster for the album’s concluding number ‘Afterglow’, which boats an appropriately mellow mood at the start, but still chucks in some heavy fuzz (and is that cowbell?) as it grooves to the end.

‘Still Life With Eggplant’ is the sound of a band kicking back and having a good time in the studio, but it’s also a flab-free example of all of Motorpsycho’s best points in one handy package for fans and newcomers alike.

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