What if Spinal Tap's Jazz Odyssey was actually superb?
Motorpsycho took their name from a Russ Meyer film (Faster Pussycat and Mudhoney were already taken). The Norwegian group has released 14 albums and 24 singles and EPs since the late 1980s. They have evolved without abandoning elements of metal, adding jazz, psychedelia, pop, Canterburyesque noodling, gentle ballads and krautrock. Lovers of good album titles will lap up entries in their discography like Manmower, The Nerve Tattoo, Let Them Eat Cake and the Sun Ra referencing Angels and Daemons at Play. Motorpsycho’s collaborations include 2004’s Into the Fishtank with Jaga Jazzist.
Heavy Metal Fruit is a quality record wherein the group skillfully incorporates heaviness and melody on some extended ever-changing pieces for guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. Two tracks run over nine minutes, another over twelve, and the epic “Gullible’s Travails” passes the twenty minute mark without a trace of filler or tedium. Psychedelic pop influences occasionally come to the fore, the English lyrics are irony-free (“percolated through the fabric of mankind”) and the vocals are refreshingly open and not at all self-conscious. Hanne Hukkelberg helps out with singing on several tracks and Mathias Eick adds trumpet to "X-3(Knuckleheads In Space)/The Getaway Special". “W.B.A.T.” is a perfect example of the band's skill as it slides from freak-out to fusion to funky old-school heaviness to free-wheeling West Coast jamming.
Motorpsycho’s 1994 classic Timothy’s Monster is being reissued this year on four CDs. They have a devoted following in Europe and new fans may be attracted to their healthy disregard for trend or fashion. After all, as the immortal CJ (from The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin) might have said: "I didn’t get where I am today by not having a healthy disregard for trend or fashion”.