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Motorpsycho - Still Life With Eggplant CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 194 ratings

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4 stars I've never quite fallen under the spell of Motorpsycho but after last year's sophisticated rock opera, The Death Defying Unicorn, and hearing that Reine Fiske had been lured on board for this one, I couldn't resist.

1. "Hell Parts 1-3" (9:47). The first "part" of this song--which contains a multi-layered harmonized vocal--reminds me very much of an amped up CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG circa 1970. Around the 4:50 mark an instrumental section begins which reminds me very much of the work of EDGAR WINTER GROUP and around 1973. The third part, beginning at the 7:15 mark, is a stripped down, funky instrumental section set up to support a kind of HENDRIX-like solo guitar display by Reine Fiske. Okay song with nothing particularly ground-breaking or earth-shatteringly engaging. (8/10)

2. "August" (4:53) opens with a CREAM-like intro before settling into a kind of Southern Rock groove. The bridges between the first two vocal-supporting A Sections are interesting and unusual--kind of Zappa-like. The guitar solo section is also entertaining though it's nothing better than anything the Allman Brothers did. (8/10)

3. "Barleycorn (Let It Come/Let I t Be)" (7:19) begins auspiciously like the TRAFFIC song of its namesake. The vocals enter with a whispery approach and are then amplified and multiplied as the singers wind up for the "Let it come, Let it be" chorus section. The second A Section is quite magical with the play of the slide guitar, more animated drums, and heavier sound. By far the best sound of the album so far. Nice guitar solo against this same storm- like musical background until the 5:00 mark when things back off and quite down for a bit. But then, instead of the expected reappearance of vocals the guitar solo continues and the band starts building toward a crescendo and then the vocals rejoin! Awesome song with some great spacey sounds working their way in and out throughout and some really nice multi-layered vocal work. (9/10)

4. "Ratcatcher" (17:10) begins with about 90 seconds of some spacey-echoed guitar pickings and arpeggios before the bass, keys, and guitars kind of go off each in their own "tuning" directions. Then suddenly with a burst at the 2:15 mark, the band bursts forth in full song unison (somewhat reminiscent of the sound and style of the final two songs on The Death Defying Unicorn). A vocal section begins before the song wanders off into a prolonged "solo" in which two guitars explore their psychedelic freedom over some awesome jazzy support from the drums and bass. Both guitars are quite interesting to follow but I find myself drawn more to the drumming and bass playing each time I listen to this section. At 8:40 the song begins to sound like everybody is coming back together but instead a more Neil Young-styled guitar solo ensues in the left channel while the right channel's guitarist plays a more chord-oriented support role. At 10:55 Fiske signals his return to the fold and soon the vocals rejoin?all this going on over the awesome play of the rhythm section. At 12:15 the shout of "Ratcatcher!" signals the end of that section. Everything slows and winds down like a dying watch until the 13:35 mark where first a single guitar picks out a little melody, then the second guitar joins in and the more subdued drums and bass rejoin, this time in support of the right channel guitarist's extended though quite mellow solo. Again, I can't help but tune into and enjoy the subtle playfulness of the bass and drums during this section. The song's final 90 seconds are left to the heavily effected psychedelic soundings of the two guitarists. Cool song kind of in the vein of country-mates MY BROTHER THE WIND, except with a bit more structure and, of course, vocals. (9/10)

5. "The Afterglow" (5:57) is a fairly gentle rock song sounding incredibly similar to some of the acoustic guitar-based vocal sections of Toby Driver from the 2001 MAUDLIN OF THE WELL albums Bath and Leaving Your Body Map. Even the chord sequences from the second section in which the whole band has come together are SO moTW! (though there is a little RADIOHEAD-like guitar play going on with it.) At 3:20 the rhythm and sounds take on a much more 70s CREAM-like feel before falling back into a kind of CSN& Y/ YOUNGBLOODS/ALLMAN BORTHERS music style and sound (including some cowbell!). Nice guitar solos beginning around the 3:30 mark. The vocals from the 4:45 mark on are screamy in a BECK Odelay-kind of way. I like this song very much. (9/10)

Though there are no songs that really knock my socks off on this album, it is a solid, creative, melodic, and enjoyable listen--especially as one gets past the more mundane first two songs.

Four stars: Recommended to all music lovers.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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