[record reviews: phanerothyme]


Review of Phanerothyme taken from the
British magazine
English. Transcribed by Jakob Carlsen.

Eclectic Norwegians. But who isn't these days.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Those long Norwegian winters leave you with lots of time on your hands – just ask Motorpsycho. Since 1989 the Trondheim trio have released 14 albums to increasing acclaim accross Europe.

What's more, like some sort of Scandinavian Prefab Sprout, they're equally at home writing a country and western film score as they are performin at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival.

On the evidence of 'Phanerothyme', however, these eager, eclectic beavers might just be their own worst enemies. That they can write sterling pop songs isn't disputable. 'BS' is killer Cardigans pop, while opener 'Bedroom Eyes' is heartbreakingly tender Simon & Garfunkel folk. It's so beautiful that in a moment of real emotional vulnerability it could probably kill you.

Like easily bored geniuses, though, Motorpsycho are soon off hopping from style to style, setting themselves new challenges and often losing the plot – illustrating perfectly that it's a very fine line between musical proficiency and irritating, self-satisfied PhD prog rock. Not that Motorpsycho – whose psychedelic triple album, 'Timothy's Monster' came with full colour poster / etchings on the sixth side – would necessarily see that as a criticism.

You could make a very, very fine EP from 'Phanerothyme' and, no doubt, a stunning C90 from Motorpsychos collected output. Trouble is, they just might drive you insane in the process of making it.

Tony Naylor