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Demon Box

Record review of Demon Box taken from the
e-zine
SATAN STOLE MY TEDDYBEAR, March 2001.
English. Found at the ssmt-site.


If you were to throw together a heap of Mudhoney, Sonic Youth and various 70s hardrock bands, add a dash of Merzbow and King Crimson, you might very-well get something sounding not too far from this album. Even early on Motorpsycho showed they were a talented bunch of guys. Their playing in itself isn't all that impressive on this album, but the songwriting has already proven to be quite well- developed. They're not here to impress you with their instrumental prowess; they just want to play you a song. They start off somewhat unexpectedly with a catchy acoustic song in which flutes, acoustic guitars, harmonized vocals and a fiddle all work together to make for a great opening. Naturally, they then get their fuzzpedals and let 'er rip.

Throughout the album there's a lot of surprises. There's the hypnotic "All is loneliness" with its sitar and repetitive guitarwork. This is probably the simplest song on here, yet it's also one of the most effective. Think of the feeling you get from the likes of Godspeed You Black Emperor! The seventeen minute titletrack turns into nothing short of a noise-piece in the middle, consisting of a repeating bass-riff and lots of machinesounds, bleeps, shrieks and general unpleasant sounds. It rules if in the right mood. It's insanely annoying if not. Most of the songs are however mid or fast paced grunge or hard rock songs, of varying quality. For a seventy-two minute album there's surprisingly little filler to be found. Some songs sound a bit too similar though, which bogs it down a tad now and then.

The production isn't much to brag about, rather it's what you might expect for this kind of music. It's not down to Darkthrone level or anything, but it's certainly far from the good sound you get from lesser, yet more popular, bands like Nirvana or Dinosaur Jr. I doubt many people into this sort of music will mind. As always with Motorpsycho the vocals are the weakest link. There's basically two approaches here, the old grunge screaming-as-loud-as-I-can-and-tearing-my-throat-apart method, and some rather rusty, not-quite-in-tune "clean" vocals. Still, this music's supposed to be down and dirty. A pretty production-job and Bruce Dickinson behind the mic would result in a big joke of an album, instead of the powerful piece it is. Though it'd be fun to hear ol' Dicky scream "I need you like I need gangrene!"

PS: As Motorpsycho are vinyl-freaks most of their albums have bonustracks on the vinyl-edition. This one is no exception and has three extra songs. Dagnabbit.

Řystein Holm-Olsen