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A review of the band’s tinyOGRE debut

PHOTO CREDIT: Genevieve Pierson

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Writing a review of Motopony's self-titled debut LP is a tricky proposition. What with all that's been written about Daniel Blue as a person in this rag, very little has been said about the music. In writing this review, I have made an effort to divorce everything I know about the man from the music, and just tell you what I hear.

Motopony is an uneven, bizarre, and at times quite affecting piece of work. There are more than a few moments when its output can't quite meet its ambition, and still more times when it misses completely. But strewn along the way are a few gems.

Let's take album opener, "June," to start with. As a song, the melody approaches the dull and simplistic, but as a piece of production, it makes strange moves (not least of which being the autotune section) that manage to hold and keep attention. Like the rest of the album, "June" is a folk-inflected number that incorporates electronic flourishes and invigorating percussion.

"King of Diamonds" remains a real highlight, and a strong single in its own right, with its tight execution, classic melody and winningly chiming tones-though, since I declared it one of Tacoma's best love songs over a year ago, it has been remixed with more cluttered production than I would like. "Seer," likewise, is a standout, with Daniel Blue's three-stringed guitar adding a kind of twanging clatter, and with an opening riff that almost sounds nicked from "Mrs. Robinson."

"I Am My Body" showcases Motopony at their weirdest. With its mixture of honky-tonk piano, blown-out vocals and-believe it or not-animal sound effects, it sounds sort of like a long-lost Harry Nilsson B-side. Meanwhile, the austere "Vetiver" may just be the only successful solo acoustic song to be featured on the album. Unfortunately, the album closes with a few of these quiet ruminations, which begin to bleed into one another, creating an indecipherable and rather sleepy finish.

There is a tug-of-war constantly at work on Motopony. No song better sums up this tension than "God Damn Girl," which prominently displays the best and worst qualities of the band, in stark opposition to one another. Like their best songs, "God Damn Girl" is laid on a bed of lively percussion, accompanied by Blue's soulful voice. But the song is undone by Blue's treacly and vaguely pompous lyrics, which mostly revolve around the phrase, "God damn girl, your wounds are beautiful."

Before hearing the suite of sleepers that closes the album, we are treated to one final gem: "Wait For Me," which has the sweetest melody of the entire album, and a delicate duet with a female vocalist. Songs like "Wait For Me" suggest genuine talent at the heart of Motopony, and the possibility for future growth.

As a freshman attempt, Motopony sounds appropriately enthusiastic in the face of inexperience.

Motopony plays the Tractor Tavern in Ballard Wednesday, Aug. 3 with Those Darlins and White Arrows.

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Warts and all

Comments for ""Motopony"" (3)

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Jason said on Aug. 02, 2011 at 1:04pm

I think this review sounds appropriately enthusiastic in the face of inexperience. It misses completely. But strewn along the way are a few gems.

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Rev. Adam McKinney said on Aug. 02, 2011 at 3:15pm


By all means, elaborate. Let's talk about it. I take it you enjoyed this album more than I did?


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Kevin H. said on Aug. 03, 2011 at 1:18pm

I really like this album from beginning to end, and find much of the music in it on the edge of bizarre and incredible. You mentioned the auto-tune - I don't turn it off, but find it the most bizarre component of the album. Thank god it lasts less than 60 seconds or it would be overkill. Every some on this album has crazy talent and thought put into it, ad it is mixed far more professionally than most local discs.

I've played 'I Am My Body', 'June', and 'Seer' on my NWCZ Radio Show, and 'I Am My Body' reminds me so much of a 'Let It Be' era Beatles tune, it just makes me giddy. These gents, 1776, Big Wheel Stunt Show, and a few others really have me excited about the music coming out of the PNW currently. We might be on the edge of taking the nation by storm, again.

--Kevin H.
Musical Yarns from the Counterculture

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