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Motorpsycho - Still Life With Eggplant CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE WITH EGGPLANT

Motorpsycho

 

Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 194 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Motorpsycho is one of those bands that I can't get enough of, even on their weaker albums, because their music is so interesting and mesmerizing. They have always experimented with different types of music, but overall, seem to be somewhere between psychedelic stoner rock and heavy prog, landing them comfortable in the Eclectic Prog subgenre. Their 2013 release "Still Life with Eggplant" lands right in the middle of one of their most creative periods when their music was also some of their best. This album comes after their amazing rock opera "The Death Defying Unicorn" and it sees them moving somewhat back to their psychedelic and stoner rock roots, but allowing for progressive changes throughout.

The line up at this time was pretty solid. You had the original duo of Bent Sæther on vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards and Hans Magnus "Snah" Ryan on guitars vocals and keyboards. Long-time drummer (by this time anyway) Kenneth Kapstad returns for this album. Reine Fiske joins the line up as a guest, but has quite a presence as he is involved in 4 out of the 5 tracks on the album providing electric and acoustic guitars plus mellotron on track 5. Thomas Henriksen also guests on keyboards on the 3rd track.

The album starts off with "Hell, Part 1-3" (9:47). The music starts off with the full band churning out a moderately slow, blues- based riff that definitely calls on their stoner rock days. Psychedelic keys lay the music on quite heavily also, and this solid intro continues until almost the 2 minute mark, then a new riff begins and the whole thing starts to follow a more moderate rhythm. Vocals with that psychedelic edge start and the whole thing comes together in a nice retro sound, but without sounding dated. This shows they can easily hold their own with their contemporary peers, like Queens of the Stone Age, yet Motorpsycho are not afraid to experiment with that sound, and totally go off into a completely different direction on a moment's notice. At 5 minutes, the music features a great double guitar attack that rocks with the best of them. Plus, Motorpsycho have a way to make everything sound different from anyone else. After 7 minutes, the track goes into it's 3rd part, which has a more minimal sound with ticking percussion tapping out a more spacey rhythm with wandering guitars.

"August" (4:52) begins with a progressive sound with tricky and dramatic drums and electric and acoustic guitars. When the vocals come in, it takes on a retro and sunshiney style while the riffs separating the verses are heavier and progressive. That weird contrast somehow all works out quite well, and it ends with a rousing and fuzzy guitar solo. "Barleycorn (Let it Come, Let it Be)" (7:18) starts with soft guitars playing together and mellow with some nice vocalizations. The tune quickly changes attitude as it nears anthem status, then calms again. That pattern repeats again, yet it is so unique that it doesn't sound like anything else, just great music. With many of Motorpscho's albums, I feel like they would have fit in so well with the great artists of the 70s. Yet, it doesn't copy them, they would have fit in as one of the originals that future bands would cite as an inspiration.

Next comes the epic "Ratcatcher" (17:10). The minimal echoing of psychedelic guitars instantly lets you know that this one is going to end up as an otherworldly space jam of the best kind. It soon takes off in that direction when the wild drums start and the guitar riffs kick in. Hazy sounding vocals come in to match the sound, with everyone singing along in a foggy but heavy melody with layers of cool effects. After one verse, the music quickly slips into the psychedelic meandering that you are hoping for as guitars weave around a solid bass and soft percussion. Foggy shades of jazz and spacey psychedelia take you on a blessed-out trip. Soon, it all gets somewhat chaotic as it continues, ebbing and flowing as it grows from softness to crazy, trippy and noisy styles, then all melding together into a structured riff and then wandering away from it again and then pulling together again to end up in the 2nd verse of the lyrics, but this time with a noisier background. What sounds like a nice progressive ending finally sort of falls apart and then meanders around for a while with soft improvising guitars.

"The Afterglow" (5:58) combines soft acoustic and electric guitars playing a swirling background as soft and pensive vocals create a nice melody. Drums finally come in halfway through giving it a good forward rhythm and this takes it all into a nice guitar-led sound where the rhythm takes on a more driving feeling and the music continues to intensify, yet remain quite melodic at the same time. This finishes things off with more emotion in the last verse, culminating on a definite high.

Motorpsycho continues to amaze during this phase of their history, a band that has come into their own, and doing it while most of the world refuses to pay attention. Yes they have their fans all over the world, but they should be considered one of the best bands out there as their music is always inventive and well written, even the improvised sections are done so well and masterfully. It does come close to being one of their masterpieces, but just stays a bit under the bar that they have established for themselves, yet it is still one of their best albums.

TCat | 4/5 |

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