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Motorpsycho - Lobotomizer CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.00 | 53 ratings

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3 stars One of my favorite bands to have ever come out of the progressive rock scene has to be Motorpsycho. I, the thing I love about Motorpsycho is that, for one, they are consistently good in their studio works, and for two, they always try something new. No album of theirs is entirely the same as the last, making going through their discography both rewarding, and very interesting. One second you are hearing an indie rock album with some psychedelic flavors to straight-up intense jazz-rock that is all over the place. I think within their big sea of albums that so far has been a yearly occasion, the band has struck all the right notes for a progressive rock fan of mine with most of their albums. Even the albums I would consider to be their worst still have something enjoyable to them, whether it's a theme, a song, or just the energy they put into the music. They started their long and expansive career in the early 90s. Around this time the whole new wave movement of the 80s died down a bit, heavy metal was starting to change a bit from the hair and glam scenes to the more intense and technical scenes, hip hop got out of its infancy with more mature lyric craftings that paved the way for the hip hop we see today, and rock music started to get darker with genres like grunge and stoner rock having a firm grasp on the genre with bands like Nirvana or Soundgarden issuing a new wave of more gritty and rough music that have some routes in the psychedelic rock and garage rock of the 60s to late 70s. With that, we get into Motorpsycho's first studio album, a stoner rock/grunge work called Lobotomizer.

The title track for the album starts it all off with a 1-minute experimental melody. This is one of the shortest songs in the Motorpsycho discography, and with it comes a very strange factor to it. I do not think the song is particularly good, but the fact the album starts with this song as a kickstart to the long career of Motorpsycho is quite interesting. Not a particular fan of this song, but with it we get a start to something good.

The first real song is Grinder, which is a more grunge track, in fact probably the most grunge song they have made in their career. A lot of heavy chords with intense drumming and yelling. You can feel a sense of weight and power, and with it, you feel the band's early gears start turning. This is their true startup with this song creating a new sense of heavyweight music that was not seen before. This goes for most Grunge acts but I think Motorpsycho here did try to be more than just power in the music. You can feel the band trying something out that hasn't been done in the grunge scene prior, and that was to implement a bit more psychedelic music into their workings. While imperfect at this stage of their career, the factors that would define them are here in some primordial form.

We get those early implications with Hogwash. It is rough around the edges, but you get stuff that not a lot of grunge acts have pulled, and that is a simple but well-worth inclusion of some keyboards. They work well backing up the heavy sounds the band is creating, but due to how new it all feels in comparison with bands like Nirvana or Alice In Chains, who probably would've thought the idea of using keys in their music would be dumb goes to prove the value Motorpsycho can create. Even in this early point of who they were, they were trying new things and trying to be themselves while also being inspired by the songs around them. Well crafted and very great music on here.

However, as we start to see up until this point they start to mingle with other genres, namely stoner rock. The slow- moving genre that defines expectations for me, we get that in spades in Home of the Brave. This intense, powerful, and grueling song just whips you around after experiencing those more fast pace grunge tracks. Probably the most extreme song on here, we get those beautiful slow-moving beats combined with that intense guitar. It just builds upon itself as it sends you into a spiral of crisp sounds that make you wash away in the sounds expressed here. It feels like a trip that took a turn for the worse, and I think that is a great way to describe this song. While the first few songs feel very heavy, this song just cranks the heaviness way up. It works extremely well for what the band wants to pull.

Though I will say after Home of the Brave the band would start to get a little more washed up with the next songs, starting with Frances. For me, this song is great in its instrumentation. Loud noisy guitars with greeting drumming are a treat to behold. It's the vocals I have a problem with, and it's for two reasons. The first reason is that the softer vocal harmonies do not fit with hard-rocking music. It feels like the vocals and instruments are from two different songs. The second reason is that they do not sound like they are singing with the music. Rule of thumb for anyone getting into singing, sing with the music, it helps a lot. Do not do what is going on in this song, because quite frankly this is rough, and while that is to be expected, even some of the first albums by some of the first rock artists in history do a better job at singing with their music than this song here. In one respect it is a good song, on another, it is pretty bad.

We get back into some more of that grunge form with Wasted. I'll keep it pretty brief since I feel like if I talk about it I will repeat what I said on Grinder. If you liked the first few songs on this album, you'll like Wasted. It's a good song.

The next song is a 2-minute experimental collage called Eternity. Think of the title track except for slightly longer and a lot more avant-garde. It is just a mess of sounds, and honestly, I do not care for this track. It is just there to increase the run time of the album, and while I do give it an A for some effort, at the end of the day it isn't all that good and very forgettable in the band's discography.

The album ends off with the band's first longer songs, that being Tfc, which I do not know if it is meant to abbreviate something. I tried looking it up and my guess is either truly fine citizen or The Filipino Channel. I do not know, and honestly, I think the band doesn't know either. This 11-minute mesh of stoner rock mixed with grunge mixed with drone and a whole other bunch of genres ends the album pretty strongly in certain areas. When it is actual music, it is very sick. It feels like you are trapped in an industrial power plant and pressed like Giles Corey on a conveyor belt, it is just that heavy. Though on other moments it goes through more weird and experimental routes, and while that is not a bad thing, sometimes it feels like filler. Drone music is added in the mix, same with harsh noise, and more general Avant Garde genres of music are tacked on to either increase the song's length or to try new things, and judging who Motorpsycho are I'd say it's the ladder. The band clearly knows what they are doing here, but I feel like what they are doing doesn't work as well as they hoped. A perfectly fine 11-minute time waster, but not the best long song they have made.

This album is equal parts great and equal parts meh. It has some great moments that helped define the band's career moving forward and allowed them to experiment within their starting days as a grunge/stoner rock band. On the other hand, it is very rough in how it is done. Some songs feel way too obtuse, and other moments feel more like filler even when I know for a fact they weren't made to be filled in as such. It is a mix of some great ideas but with a rough draft that is quite ugly to look at with albums that'd come after. It is a fine stoner rock classic but one that hasn't aged the best. If you like stoner rock, maybe give this a listen, but start with the two albums that'd come afterward, or some of their EPs first before diving into the rough chisels of an awesome band.

Dapper~Blueberries | 3/5 |


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