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MOTION THEORY

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Motion Theory biography
Motion Theory is a UK based band who play, as they dubbed it themselves, alternative progressive rock. With hints of classical music, Radiohead, Rush, Led Zeppelin, but also Japan and many others, their sound is very eclectic, yet modern progressive.

After a freely downloadable debut EP in 2008 (Sunlight on the Sand), the band continued to release the full blown album Featherhead in 2009. This album, which was very well received in the UK, is available for download as well as sold on CD, amongst others through the bands web site.

The band, which was founded in Durham in 2007/2008, consists of four young yet experienced musicians, one of whom (Jamie Wesley) once won the Battle of the Bands guitar prize in Manchester. He is accompanied by James Kerr and Will Souter on bass and drums since they founded the band. Singer/keyboardist Dom Main joined the band a little bit later, bringing his own ideas as well as a broad vocal 'toolbox'
In 2009, touring had to be interleaved with the foursome's studies at the univerisities of Durham and Oxford, but there's more to be expected from this band in the coming years.

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Motion Theory / Into The NightMotion Theory / Into The Night
Signal
Vinyl$9.53 (used)
Motion Theory / AirheadMotion Theory / Airhead
Gain
Vinyl$9.53 (used)
Motion Theory / LightpipeMotion Theory / Lightpipe
Hidden Kings
Vinyl$7.97
Mohawk/Breaking Up in Reno [Vinyl]Mohawk/Breaking Up in Reno [Vinyl]
Single · Import
PID 2006
Vinyl$55.49
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MOTION THEORY discography


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MOTION THEORY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Featherhead
2009

MOTION THEORY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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MOTION THEORY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Sunlight on the Sand
2008
3.14 | 4 ratings
It's not as dark as that, Friend
2011

MOTION THEORY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 It's not as dark as that, Friend by MOTION THEORY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.14 | 4 ratings

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It's not as dark as that, Friend
Motion Theory Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A new English band with a lot of promise.

This twenty two minutes long EP is their third release. An EP that reminds me a lot about Gazpacho and their music. I have been told Gazpacho is in the Marillion (post Fish) vein too so I guess Marillion is a good reference too. In short, Alternative prog rock and post rock with some electronica and ambience. The tones lingers in the air instead of being rammed home. The vocals is in the Thom Yorke vein. Both acoustic and electric guitars are used.

The quality of the songs are good and candlelight dinners material. My gripe is the lack of killer tracks. But this is still a good EP.

3 stars

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 It's not as dark as that, Friend by MOTION THEORY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.14 | 4 ratings

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It's not as dark as that, Friend
Motion Theory Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'It's Not As Dark As That, Friend' - Motion Theory (7/10)

Motion Theory is a band from the UK that labels their sound as 'alternative prog rock'. By that, one can assume that they are a group that aims to advance the more modern brands of rock music, rather than looking to the past, and this is something that instantly attracts me to the music of this band. Despite the relative youth of the band members, this band have already come out with a full-length debut in 'Featherhead' and a handful of shorter releases. 'It's Not As Dark As That, Friend' is the most recent outing from this group, and although Motion Theory may not have been around for so long, their skill and promise as an act shows. Although EPs usually give me a sense of sounding incomplete, I have found myself really enjoying what the band has done here. I look forward to hearing more from the band in the future.

The closest thing I would compare Motion Theory to is the American band Dredg, who similarly is rotted mainly in alternative rock, but makes use of more atmosphere and depth than you might expect from a typical rock group. Even singer Dom Main sounds very much alike the vocalist from Dredg, and I do not think this is a bad thing; Motion Theory have enough of their own charm to resist being called a soundalike. The first two songs are very much based in post-rock tinged atmosphere, with Dom's vocals brooding overtop, and one of the first things I notice with the music here is how well it is produced. Although the album does not have the consistent quality that I would expect from a more professional release, the atmosphere is really captured here, especially later on during the solemn closer 'Forgotten Girl'. Motion Theory are still unsigned, but they can produce their music quite well. The only major downshift from this sense of great recording is during the third song, which is recorded with 'live' instruments, so it is understandable why it would not be up to par with the rest, although for all intents and purposes, it still sounds fairly good. The only harm it causes is breaking the album's flow.

The songwriting here is maybe where Motion Theory shows the most promise. I would not say that any of the album's five tracks blow me away, but they leave me wanting more. There's a fair variety here, from the bass-driven rock in 'Sure It's Chaos But It's Ours' to bright post rock in the opener, and a nearly ambient finale. In total, Motion Theory has introduced themselves to me in a memorable, enjoyable, and promising fashion. 'It's Not As Dark As That, Friend' has some bumpy edges, but there's nothing here that I could really complain about. I look forward to hearing the band sharpen up their skills and continue their work, because this is very good.

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 It's not as dark as that, Friend by MOTION THEORY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.14 | 4 ratings

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It's not as dark as that, Friend
Motion Theory Crossover Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars England's Motion Theory gained some recognition around the release of 2009's Featherhead, and their most recent EP, It's not as dark as that, Friend, will hopefully garner some additional attention within the prog rock community. Sporting a more mellow sound and generally more professional compositions than Featherhead, this five-track EP will undoubtedly impress people who enjoy melancholic progressive/alternative rock. Motion Theory just keep getting better and better, and I can't wait to hear what they have next up their sleeves!

The music here is a bit more mellow than Featherhead, but still unquestionably the work of the same band. I'm often reminded of acts like Marillion (Somewhere Else or Happiness is the Road era), Radiohead, and Muse, but Motion Theory does have their own sound and never rub off as a "clone" of any sort. There's plenty of variation that keep the EP fresh during its entire 22 minute duration, with the mellow "Dead Reckoning" and the progressive "Sure It's Chaos, But It's Ours" standing out as highlights. The professional and tasteful musicianship further emphasizes the fantastic songwriting exemplified throughout the EP. One of my only significant complaints about It's not as dark as that, Friend is that the production is a bit weak. Although certainly listenable, it does sound a bit too unpolished for the heavily atmospheric music here.

Despite my issues with the production, It's not as dark as that, Friend is generally a terrific EP from Motion Theory that I'd readily recommend to all fans of progressive/alternative rock. These guys have their own sound and a knack for creating songs that are beautiful and memorable - and, for me, that spells quality! 3.5 stars are very well-deserved here. It'll certainly be interesting to see what the future holds for this talented young act.

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 It's not as dark as that, Friend by MOTION THEORY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.14 | 4 ratings

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It's not as dark as that, Friend
Motion Theory Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars After a few nice exchanges around the time they released "featherhead", Motion Theory allowed me to preview their forthcoming EP "It's not as dark as that, Friend". Indeed not as dark as it may seem, this EP does contain far from light tracks. The band have evolved since featherhead, although the influences of bands like Radiohead will likely never disappear completely - and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Of the five tracks, I like "Sure it's chaos but it's ours" best. It's a powerful track, with the kind of bass work that I can especially appreciate - being a bass player myself. The contining high not riff on the guitar (or is it a synth?) keeps your attention focussed on the track. These high notes are also present on more mellow (but far from poppy or soft) tracks "Let's pave over the sea" and Dead reckoning. At first, they seemed repetitive, but they are different in every track. So far, Motion Theory has been able to use a style element like this without falling into what I would call the 'Coldplay' trap: making the element so dominant that all songs become interchangeable. Anima is an acoustic guitar 'ballad', which doesn't seem to really fit in with the other tracks. Could be good, could be bad - a bit of contrast never hurts, but to me it's not the highlight of the EP. One thing has to be said: at some point, halfway through the song, it reminded me of a very old Caravan song of which the title keeps slipping my mind. Finally, the slowly pulsating keyboards and slow vocals on Forgotten Girl lead to a good, almost psychedelic finale to the EP. The slightly distorted guitar that plays slow, sharp edged riffs over the main melody gives the track an almost post rock feel - but could also be inspired by the likes of the Velvet Underground (hail Lou Reed). The ending is rather abrupt, but somehow that fits in nicely with the psychedelic feel of the song. Once again, a good effort by a willing band. Maybe a spot at a summer festival would allow them to get some more attention. Promotors, why aren't you looking in their direction?

P.S. Now that the album details are here: compliments for the artwork on the cover.

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 Featherhead by MOTION THEORY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Featherhead
Motion Theory Crossover Prog

Review by JLocke
Prog Reviewer

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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 Featherhead by MOTION THEORY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Featherhead
Motion Theory Crossover Prog

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.

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Thanks to Angelo for the artist addition.

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