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Motorpsycho - Black Hole / Blank Canvas CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.61 | 67 ratings

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3 stars "Black Hole/Blank Canvass" is the first Motorpsycho album without their long-time drummer, so they were now down to 2 regular members. This double album, released in 2006, shows Motorpsycho continuing to expand and experiment with styles. It is also their 11th full length album.

We start out with 3 tracks that are somewhat straightforward stoner style rock, though the first one is the most appealing track, but other than being good rockers with a slight unfinished edge to them, there isn't much else interesting here. But from "Kill Devil Falls" on, the music suddenly takes on a very psychedelic feel with some experimentation going on, which makes the music more unique and keeps you interested, but it can take some time for it to grow on you.

This album is an interesting beast, because has got a lot of great and interesting tracks on it, but it also seems somewhat unpolished, which both works for and against it. There are passages that seem to go by without a lot of development, then all of a sudden, there is something added that turns the track from mediocre to quite amazing, one specific case is "Critical Mass" where we have a psychedelic feel through the first half of the song which feels really flat and uninteresting, then there is a sudden almost orchestral addition to the song that suddenly brings it to life, and everything just makes total sense. Expect this to happen throughout this album.

Then there is the matter of the vocals on this album. They sound slightly hesitant and unsure, and this works well at times, but many times it tends to bring the overall quality down a bit. The unpolished sound works well for the psychedelic aspect of the album however. The album has sort of a structured/spontaneous feel, if that makes any sense. There is definite direction that the band wants to go with each track, but when it gets there, it almost seems like it was by accident. Its like they stumble on to a certain riff or sound and then they flip everything on its end and turn it into something amazing.

"Devil Dog" is a definite highlight on the first album, with a unique sound that stays mostly subdued, but then suddenly explodes into a nice complex heavy section in the middle. Then there is "Triggerman" which has an awful lyrical section, but the instrumental section is just plain killer! Other highlights are "Sail On", the space rock inspired "L.T.E.C. (Deja-Vulture Blues)", and the jazz fusion track "Before the Flood". Low points are when they try to go alternative and don't do so well as on "The Ace", "In Our Tree", "Hyena", "Coalmine Pony".

It's hard for me to decide. The band didn't quite perfect their sound on this one as if they weren't sure what do to without their third member, but then sometimes they suddenly turn things around making their insecurities into strengths that end up making the strong sections even more powerful. I guess I could say I love about half of the album and the other half I feel is lacking. The problem is, it can have both traits in one track. That makes the album seem somewhat disjointed, but there are some very awesome passages here that still make this a worthwhile album.

In summary, I guess that means that this is not the best album to enter into the world of Motorpsycho with, I would probably start with "Behind the Sun" especially for Progressive lovers. However, this is not an album to completely ignore either, so I would come back to it later, when you are more familiar with just how great this band can be. Those that love psychedelic and/or stoner rock would probably love this album though.

TCat | 3/5 |


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