Motorpsycho have been plying their trade in progressive, psychedelic heavy rock for the past 25 years, give or take. Over that time they have gathered a tribe of loyal fans and had the odd line-up change. Founding members Magnus ‘Snah’ Ryan and Bent Saether have remained at the core of everything they do. Their new album Here Be Monsters was originally commissioned for the 100 year anniversary of the Norwegian Technical Museum in 2014. The band realised they could take their original one-off performance further and went into the studio at the start of 2015. Lyrically, the original version studied time and history, for the recorded version, the themes have been expanded to explore the human condition.
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- Here Be Monsters by Motorpsycho
8/10 Robin Staff review, 17 February 2016
It’s Motorpsycho, I think, but they don’t seem to be performing a three-hour avant opera or jamming for as long as it takes the tree they just planted to grow, so I can’t really tell. At the very least, ‘Here Be Monsters’ was commissioned for the Norwegian Technical Museum, because in their progcentric world, all music must have telos. As far as modern era Motorpsycho goes, this is no frills stuff: forty six minutes of self-contained riffing and organ beams and celestial ascension.
When Motorpsycho are pretty, they make me melt: “Lacauna/Sunrise” is slow-burning prog balladry of the highest quality, taking high-pitched harmonics and pitting them against a sunbathing rhythm section. Under the steady guidance of omniscient organs, it rises and rises, briefly relenting as the band invoke purdy chords and sparkle for the song’s second part. “Running With Scissors” opens on more fret wizardry but relies on a rather lovely acoustic guitar, allowing riffs to unfold on a pillowed psychedelic surface. Motorpsycho are playing their way into a summer’s day, and I’m here for it.
There are heavier points of contact, such as the blistering psych jam “I. M. S.”, which sounds as frantically motivated (but less collapsed) as early Mars Volta. Mostly, though, I’m here for Motorpsycho’s near-ballads: the misty-eyed piano of “Sleepwalking Again” is where it’s at, you know? It’s nice to hear prog rock bands engage with their feelings.
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