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Steve Hillage - Motivation Radio CD (album) cover

MOTIVATION RADIO

Steve Hillage

 

Canterbury Scene

3.36 | 81 ratings

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HolyMoly
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams
2 stars Steve Hillage is a Canterbury scene artist that I've never quite been able to enjoy as much as I hoped - not that that was his concern in the least. His work as a member of Gong, as well as the Gong-like solo debut "Fish Rising", set the bar pretty high for this guitarist. This album, his third solo flight and the first to really feel like a solo album (the prior two were more like supergroup albums), suffers from poor flow, underwritten song material, and thin sound. The difference is immediately apparent as soon as "Hello Dawn" starts. Whereas before Hillage's music was characterized by a huge, spacey sound, this one sounds like a rough bedroom demo by comparison. This would be fine (nothing wrong with a shift in perspective if you're an artist), if the song had anything going for it, which it sadly does not. Just a few chords, an optimistic vocal, and a weak hook. "Motivation" follows, showing glimpses of a dance beat to make a fairly annoying self-help song.

"Light in the Sky" is by far the best song here, with a great set of guitar riffs and a cool cameo vocal by Miquette Girady in the chorus. Great tune! "Radio" sounds good at first, with a long instrumental intro that hearkens back to the prior albums, but in the end it goes nowhere, even after the vocal finally kicks in. "Wait One Moment" returns to the basic 3 minute song format, with an emphasis on "basic": a predictable ballad that sounds ok, but doesn't offer much else for me. Again, basic is not a bad thing, but these songs could at least use some emotion or atmosphere to carry them along. "Saucer Surfing" is a decent enough space rocker, as is the first part of "Searching for the Spark" (the latter being a highlight on "Live Herald", overall a much better version than here). "Octave Doctors" is a ho-hum instrumental that doesn't leave any impression, but the worst is saved for last with "Not Fade Away", the Buddy Holly tune, seemingly "updated" to include the New Age philosophy Steve Hillage was into at the time, using Hillage buzzwords like "glid".

Hillage is a great musician with a very distinctive guitar style, but for this album he appears to go half-heartedly into the world of 3 minute songcraft, de-emphasizing his guitar and emphasizing his lyrics, which I have to say are pretty heavy-handed and don't inspire me much. "Light in the Sky" and "Searching for the Spark" save this one in the end, but overall I consider this a big disappointment.

HolyMoly | 2/5 |

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