MOTORCADE – MOTORCADE - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab


by Jon Burke Rating:7 Release Date:2018-01-19

From the opening chords, and syncopated beats, of “Walk With Me,” the first track on MOTORCADE’s eponymous debut, listeners are led to believe they’ve been transported back to the new wave scene of the 1980s. In fact, the only thing missing from “Walk With Me” are foppish hairdos and Victorian lace cuffs. The track quickly locks into a Joy Division-esque groove and then explodes into a shoegaze-y guitar frenzy as vocalist Andrew Huffstetler, sounding a bit like The Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler, spits:

“I’m not your guiding light/ I’m not your shining star/ tonight!”

It’s all so perfectly crafted that it feels less like new wave homage and more like an actual album of the era. MOTORCADE’s second track, “Deliver”, doubles-down on the synth-pop style by adding in harmonizing background vocals that would fit in nicely on Songs From the Big Chair or Dare!–two clear influences on MOTORCADE’s sound. The enjoyable irony of all these Brit-pop comparisons is that MOTORCADE are actually from Texas—place where just sporting a Flock of Seagulls’ hairdo is a risky endeavor.

Other tracks nod to The Thompson Twins (“Desertion”) or Echo & The Bunnymen (“Long Telegram”) or The Church (“Not Too Dark”) but with enough new and interesting twists on the originals’ formulas that MOTORCADE never seem stale or lacking imagination.  This isn’t to say MOTORCADE gets everything right or is without its flaws however.

The pulsing “When The Hit Comes” starts off with promise but, beyond a fun little rhythmic pattern, never amounts to much. Similarly, “Overthrown” hints at a major sonic spectacle to come… which never actually emerges despite some fun synth swells and (slightly) increased tempos. It’s moments like these that highlight MOTORCADE’s Achilles heel:  though the band has absolutely perfected the synth elements to their new wave sound, they never allow their guitars to really dig-in and just rock. Even an occasional solo or distorted chord would only elevate the already high bar MOTORCADE has set with their debut. The band’s bio states they’re affiliated with The War On Drugs and if that’s true they could learn a thing or two from Adam Granduciel and company about the transcendent power of a great guitar sound combined with gorgeous synths.

Minor complaints aside, MOTORCADE makes for a lovely listening experience. Though it doesn’t have the power to change your life it definitely has what it takes to improve your day. I look forward to whatever comes next from this band.

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