[record reviews: it's a love cult]
Motorpsycho It's a Love Cult
Named after a Russ Meyer film, the Norwegian trio have long since abandoned acid- flavoured hard rock in favour of a wider, if sometimes over-extended ecleticism. It's A Love Cult mixes spiky psych-pop with Prog blowouts and meandering, jazzy ballads. In fact, Motorpsycho's magpie tendencies are intriguing and irritating in equal measure; stylistically they're all over the place, veering from the cavernous freakbeat of "Neverland" to the disarming acoustic balladry of "Circles", from compressed bursts of energy to flowing, languorous compositions and orchestral bombast. They successfully fuse late 60s Who with Neu!-styled propulsion on the opening "Überwagner Or A Billion Bubbles In My Mind", then later float off into more complex territory with "This Otherness", where freewheeling psychedelia evolves into Prog rock.
However, it's not without subtleties. Guitarist Hans Magnus Ryan knocks off a perfectly judged, muted guitar solo, contrasting with the more sumptuous music preceding it. But from here on there's a marked dip in quality as the group indulges in the bombastic "Carousel", which gives Led Zeppelin's "Rain Song" a symphonic hangover, with a bit of Crosby, Stills & Nash thrown in just to needlessly hammer the point home. "The Mirror And The Lie" sounds unavoidably self-important with its hushed, portentous opening and heavily layered chamber-pop arrangement. The more vigorous "Serpentine" signals the way out of this cul de sac and "Custer's Last Stand (One More Daemon)" comes to the rescue with exactly the combination of the West Coast and vintage UK psychedelia that its title suggests. Too smart to be mere retro-merchants but sometimes too clever for their own good, Motorpsycho have delivered an album that's somewhere between heroic failure and flawed masterpiece.