[record reviews: barracuda]
Review of Barracuda taken from the
Recorded during the same sessions as last year's Let Them Eat Cake, this release is to some extent a counterpoint to that album. While Let Them Eat Cake was a collection of pop-songs, this is the rock'n'roll half of the album. "Heartbreaker" jumps straight into it with a great, groovy, syncopated bass riff, it's quite apparent that this is still not quite a return to their earlier albums. And that first impression pretty much rings true for the entire album, for better and worse. My first impression was that this was a somewhat boring retro-rock release, but Motorpsycho wouldn't be that trite, would they? Thankfully this release doesn't reek of the "let's release some leftover material to make a quick buck" attitude.
The songs vary a fair bit, but essentially sticking to a more concise, less jamming version of Trust Us' most melodic material. The biggest surprise might be the fact that the vocals actually sound pretty good this time, unlike the raw, hoarse, out of tune ones of most of their past material. The songs jump around a good bit, particularly noticable when album closer "Glow" suddenly stops, a few piano notes are heard, and everything pops into auditory chaos, before the band comes back in, pulling it all together. While I admittedly was a good bit disappointed when I first listened to Barracuda, it has kept growing on me for each listen and it currently stands as one of Motorpsycho's most concise and enjoyable recordings. Thanks to the lack of any real filler material, plus all the catchy choruses, this might very well be the best place for the uninitiated to begin their Motorpsycho journey. It's all here, great jamming, great instrumentation, and just plain keen songs. The only real weak spot for me is "Star Star Star", which just sits there, failing at even attempting to grab hold of me and shriek "Yay, I'm swell! Heck, you're going to put me on repeat for the rest of the week!" into my face.
But, barring that one song, this is still prime Motorpsycho-material, where they show us just how to combine amazing musicianship with wonderful songwriting without ever giving the impression that they're just showing off. Let's hope they keep this standard up for many years to come. And remember, if they ever come remotely near you, there is no excuse to miss them, as this is one hell of a live act. Just be warned that if the mood is right, they might throw themselves into into the occational "noise-jam". Now, excuse me, I believe I'll go and listen to "Dr. Hoffman's Bicycle" once more.