[record reviews: it's a love cult]


Review of It's a Love Cult taken from the
Norwegian magazine
MUTE #4 / 2002.
English translation provided by Tore Skogseth.

It's a Love Cult
Rating: 9 out of 10

Only a few bands, if any – national or international – are able to show such a consistenly high quality like Motorpsycho have delivered over the past ten years. Therefore, it is hardly of any surprise that It's a Love Cult fits nicely into Motorpsycho's already impressively strong catalogue. According to the band, this is a reaction to Phanerothyme. And, yes, this album is a little looser, not arranged all the way through, more playful and spontaneous. It's a Love Cult is still undoubtably Motorpsycho, and contains everything we've learned to love about the band. The groove. The interaction. The power. The melodies. The latter is probably Motorpsycho's greatest strength. Through ten years of hard rock, prog, psychedelia and classical song-writing the band's, particularly Bent Sæther's, pop-feeling has been the basis. "Überwagner" and "Carousel are among the outstanding Sæther-tunes on this album.

The opener, "Überwagner," is a pure triumph, a fantastic song, a tune that sends you ravingly out into the world to tell everyone that you have seen the light; heard the world's best song. A song that can make you cry out of sheer rock-happiness. An immediate classic where the opening, with its motorized beat has the thoughts travelling in the direction of Neu's "Hallo Gallo." "Carousel" starts out slowly and has one of those insanely beautiful transitions Motorpsycho have made part of their trademark. The Beatles inspiration is revealed in "Composite Head," but is still marked with Motorpsycho's fingerprints. "Neverland," which already is quite the live favorite, is also brilliant, hyper-catchy, habit-forming, and fueled by a Doors-like organ theme Ray Manzarek would have killed for. A nod of approval has to go to Bård Slagsvold, who, over the last few years, has added a new dimension when it comes to arranging the songs, especially through the use of horns and keyboards. Snah has grown into a great songwriter, and with the single "Serpentine" he delivers an intricate but catchy tune. And what a guitar player he is! He picks the best from idols like the deceased Michael Caroli of Can as well as Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, and adds his originality. There isn't anything the man isn't doing with the guitars on this album. Starting with catchy riffs and awesome guitar solos in "One More Daemon" up to a sensitive play in the quiet gem "Circles." Together with Sæther and Gebhardt he forms a monster of a band which is frightingly good without focusing on instrumental brilliance.

Motorpsycho might not be evolving much through It's a Love Cult. It does not represent a leap ahead, and might best be viewed as a sum-up of their career this far. But without the excesses found on albums like Demon Box and Angels and Daemons at Play. The band seems to have left the long improvisation-driven tunes behind for more typical rock tunes. This is no objection – much to the contrary. In contrast to many, Motorpsycho elevate themselves above popular trends and genres and remain faithful to their own project. Their joy and spirit never seems to fade, probably due to their unconditional love for rock music.

With It's a Love Cult, Motorpsycho once again have proven that they are the best band in Norway. One can only surrender. Again.

Ørjan Greiff Johnsen