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Motion Theory

Crossover Prog

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Motion Theory Featherhead album cover
3.00 | 3 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Love the Smell of the Universe in the Morning (6:17)
2. Until You Leave (4:09)
3. Lucidity (6:33)
4. All I Need (4:23)
5. Big Boys (5:50)
6. Make Some Noise (3:50)
7. Cycles (5:17)
8. Featherhead (6:56)

Total Time 43:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Jamie Wesley / guitars
- James Kerr / bass
- Will Soutter / drums
- Dom Main / vocals, keyboards

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to jlocke for the last updates
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MOTION THEORY Featherhead ratings distribution

(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (100%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MOTION THEORY Featherhead reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars (published before on the forums)

I listened to this album for a week (on and off, I'm not a complete masochist) when asked to review it by the band., and it really is one of these albums that needs some time to get into your skull. Overall, this is a very nice effort - regardless of how full prog it can be considered, the influences are definitely there. Sometimes I hear a hint of an 80's metal riff, a bit of Nine Inch Nails or Radiohead.

A brief impression per track seems in order as well, with 8 tracks on the album.

I Love the Smell of Universe in the Morning - An in your face opening riff, that evolves into a heavy track, which surprisingly ends with a very mellow keyboard piece. The vocals seem to be a bit detached from the rest of the band - due to the mix, or as a friend of mine remarked 'maybe they should have applied some vocal effects to make the singing less clean and integrate it more with the music'.

Until you Leave - This one has an Iron Maiden like intro riff, which gets backed by a simple, yet driving bass line that continuous throughout the song. A track that really holds power, although I think the drums might've been a little bit more varied. The singing on this one is on the edge of screaming sometimes, not really my taste, but skipping personal preferences, it does fall into place after a few listens.

Lucidity - This track really is a different beast after the two opening tracks. Subtle guitars, percussion-like drumming and more laid back singing. The guitar and bass interplay during solos' and outro is very well done, and this is definitely a prog track. It's one of the tracks where I really started counting to find out the beat - and I was glad to read on the forums this morning that my 5/8 guess in the middle section was correct.

All I Need - This one is well performed, with the vocals and guitar alternating in taking the lead. Only downside is that the high notes in this track seem to be close to Dom's limits, which is a bit straining to the ears at times. Outside that, this track reminds me a bit of 90's Radiohead.

Big Boys - This is a track that gives me mixed feelings. On certain listens I think it is too simple, on others I suddenly notice the almost psychedelic feel of the instrumental parts. The singing is very 'soulful' and the clean guitars and drumming (percussion-like again) support it very well. A relaxing track.

Make Some Noise - After Big Boys, Make Some Noise is exactly that - the heavy guitar riffs are back, as is the more screaming side of the singer. Maybe because of what comes before it, but this too me is the least track of the eight.

Cycles - This one at first brings to mind New Model Army, it's a bit of a stranger in the mix with the other tracks - partly because of the lyrics and the vocals, partly because of the music (the drive of the rhythm section). The instrumental part and the second half however are far more progressive than what NMA ever did.

Featherhead - It's obvious why this has become the title track of the album. It's simply the best of the bunch. Coming in at almost 7 minutes it seems to have 3 or 4 movements, starting with a nice bass and vocal intro, and giving more room to the guitar and drums after that. There's a bit of a Psychedelic/Space feeling to this one again, and once again I hear flashes of early Radiohead. Could this also be the only track with effects applied to the vocals? Definitely a prog track in all respects.

As promised, I paid some special attention to the vocals, since I was a bit negative about those when reviewing an early demo. On first listen, I didn't really appreciate them in a quite few places, but somehow that feeling disappeared after a few listens. Or at least almost. In some tracks I get a bit uncomfortable with the way Dom sings the longstretched syllables, e.g. in first half of I Love the Smell of the Universe in the Morning (great song title by the way!). In other tracks the singing is on the edge of screaming, like Until You Leave. Both are things I don't really like, but I can only think of these as conscious decisions on the part of the band. More important, on All I Need, the high notes give me the feeling Dom can do better, which he proves perfectly on the title track Featherhead. A glitch, or a conscious decision also - I'm not sure. Overall, I can only agree with what Will wrote in February (after I reviewed the demo) - what I heard on this album is a vocalist who is much more integrated with the band and knows where he's going. One remark made by the same friend that commented on the opening track should be added here: on one track, I think Big Boys or Lucidity, she remarked 'hey, he sings like that guy from Tool - very nice!'. Let's just not add anything after that.

Review by JLocke
3 stars And here I thought Motion Theory had yet to be added to this site. Apparently they've been included here for months, now, Silly me.

''I Love the Smell of the Universe in the Morning'' starts out with a single electric guitar string being strummed in earnest, soon accompanied by some light piano. This is fine, until the drums come in. Unfortunately, things sound a little off-time, and not intentionally. However, that doesn't last for too long, and soon a killer heavy guitar riff really kicks in and gets things moving. I really like that! I think for the most part, this is a great song, and is a decent length as well without getting boring or overly-frilly. These guys can clearly play, but it's not necessary for them to constantly show off that fact, and they keep their playing parallel with what the actual song requires, and no more. That's a great sense of discipline to have, being able to resist certain virtuoso urges in order to better serve the music.

''Until You Leave''. Ah! Now THIS is some groovy hard rock! This has quickly become a favorite of mine. I particularly enjoy the vocal performance and lead guitar work present, here (especially the absolutely jaw-dropping solo by guitarist Jamie Wesley that hits at around 2:19!). An exceptional song, though not much Prog Rock going on, there. Still, absolutely worth listening to.

''Lucidity'' is clearly one of the proggier tracks on Featherhead. The first minute-and-a-half is one gradual buildup into the main song, where the vocals come in very strongly. At around 1:54, a spacey riff eases in gently and with great style. This is a really cool track! The chorus is a little more modern-day Alt.-Rock than the rest of the song, but the blend of styles is handled quite nicely, here. I really like Dom Main's voice, by the way. It spoke to me instantly. He clearly has a very good grasp of what he is capable of, and will at time go right up to his limit, singing at quite high octaves, but on this particular song, he's more tame. There is a very nice drum and bass outro for this, as well, evidencing both James Kerr and Will Soutter's abilities.

''All I Need'' doesn't really get interesting until about a minute in, when an abstract guitar movement comes in, backing up Main as he reaches for the skies with his higher vocal range. They manage to pull that off very well, the both of them. I suppose that could be looked at as the chorus, because it reoccurs again at 2:20. Another really emotionally-charged guitar lead takes the song to new heights a little after the second chorus, and it then leads into some heavy riffing that blends very nicely into the song's outro. It ends on a much better note than it began. Good tune.

''Big Boys'' has a very strong opening, and stays pretty solid throughout. There is a moment or two of noticeable mic-popping as Main sings, which I definitely think should have been corrected in the studio, but then again, it's hard to catch and not that noticeable. It doesn't really take away from the song, but it just surprised me. Perhaps I'm just mistaking some other element for that, but that's what it sounds like to me, so who knows. Another thing that I think takes away from this song ultimately is that it doesn't really go anywhere despite the enjoyable opening. The playing is solid as always, but it just doesn't seem to have much depth when compared to the other tracks.

''Make Some Noise'' is my least favorite song on the record. The vocals are almost a complete rehash of the stuff he was singing in ''Before You Leave''. The only difference is that the melody is lightly tweaked, but the structure and delivery is so similar, I'm surprised nobody in the band didn't try to make a little more varied. Then again, the playing on the track is just as good and groovy as the rest, but I do feel that is could have been refined a bit more. Mainly in just the vocal melody section.

''Cycles'' is really good. A little more out-of-sync drumming at the start, though, but soon things tighten up and I really enjoy the rushed vocal style during the verses, and the chorus is a very mournful tune that just drips with heartfelt, committed performance on all fronts. One of the stronger tracks on the album for sure.

''Featherhead''. The title track is really Jazzy from the instrumental side of things, thanks to the awesome bass playing and drum rhythms. The vocals here are once again superb, and the guitar playing is more subdued initially, but gradually grows into a more up-front of a role. While I do feel this song sounds the least like the others, and as a result sticks out like a sore thumb, it's clear that it's one of the more intelligently-written tunes, and it's clearly been given a lot of attention by the band. There are long sequences of soft, minimalistic instrumentation accompanied by the lead vocals, but then there are also quicker periods of the song when the distorted guitar leads the charge into more heavy territory. A fairly well-balanced effort. Finally, with a little less than two minutes to go, the two elements combine, with Main singing the chorus overtop of the rest of the band's chugging, stomping force. A nice rocking section helps close the song, and ends this record with an abrupt but effective ending.

This is a decent debut effort with plenty of potential still waiting to be unlocked. I think we will only hear better and better things from Motion Theory in the future, and I for one look forward to that. For now, take this as a nice little appetizer.

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