It feels weird, writing a Hey! Listen to This post for a band that’s been around since 1989. Saying that Motorpsycho references classic pieces of stoner and psychedelic rock would be a mistake, since they were an integral part of the continuation of that music into the 90’s. Nonetheless, it’s pretty much impossible to resist the urge for comparison. Their latest album, Here Be Monsters, was released a few short months ago and is veritably swimming in classic references. Pink Floyd, Yes, early Rush and Genesis and countless other names from the Golden Era of progressive/psychedelic rock all live side by side, creating a heady and moving elixir of emotions and nostalgia. However, this is much more than just fan service; Here Be Monsters is a complete and impressive album, spanning an impressive range of ideas and sounds. Check out “Lacuna/Sunrise” below and let’s circle back afterwards.
Oh god. When those backing vocals appear on the first chorus, my entire body just reacts immediately. There’s something there, some nostalgia which manages to be pure instead of sickly and cloying. Everything here just meshes into a sublime whole: the bass is astounding, its tone a soothing heartbeat that enables the track to keep moving cohesively. The synths, Hammond-like in their massive grace, are use sparingly but to an exact amount, sweetly enriching the rest of the tracks. The guitar is perhaps the most Pink Floyd of the instruments, sawing the spaces above the rest of the instruments with emotional clarion calls that send the heart racing.
The rest of the album does many things with these basics. “Spin, Spin, Spin” for example is a more classical folk iteration on psychedelic rock while “I.M.S” is Yes’s Relayer reborn. Seriously, if you can listen to it and not hear the title track from the album with touches of “Sound Chaser”, then you haven’t listened to Yes enough and that’s a terrible mistake, go listen to more Yes right now. End of the day, you play Here Be Monsters for all the emotions that progressive rock can invoke when used honestly. Instead of contrived antics, which plague many of these projects, we get emotion, commitment to excellent sound and a compositional approach which tempers imitation and reference with extreme moments of aural pleasure.