Motopony is band that seem poised to breakout with their second album, Welcome You. Though their debut self-titled album was met with moderate success, the band’s EP Idle Beauty gave listeners a hint of the kind of radio and commercial success the band is capable of. Popular radio station KEXP, along with many of other indie music outlets, featured the band’s single, “Get Down (Get Up)”, a song which showed a unique ability to combine pop catchiness with innovation and skill.
Where Idle Beauty only teased listeners, Welcome You will fully satisfy all cravings for quality indie rock. Much of the album’s excellence can be attributed to lead singer, Daniel Blue’s clever songwriting and even better lyrical delivery.
The album’s first single “Daylights Gone” is an impressively well-structured pop song that deftly avoids the trappings that plague many of Motopony’s contemporaries. The track has a plethora of fine moments which in and of themselves would work if teased out throughout an entire song. The real skill, though, is the band’s ability to not only realize what works, but its willingness to immediately toss it aside and move on to the next moment. Motopony doesn’t linger in one place for too long, making the listener long for fleeting moments in the song, only to have that longing satisfied just in time to avoid becoming frustratingly evasive.
Welcome You’s second single “1971” contains perhaps the album’s most catchy and memorable chorus. It is important to note that this isn’t necessarily a difficult task, as Blue doesn’t seem overly concerned with creating instantly memorable choruses, a notion that this reviewer is perfectly okay with. The best part of “1971” is the Revolver-era Beatles guitar riff that floats in the background of the song, which gives the track not only a solid spine but transports the listener to the time and place the song’s theme aims for.
Motopony is very much their own band with their own distinct style, but that doesn’t mean they refuse to borrow from other bands. “Gypsy Women” is the most rocking and rolling song on the record and obviously takes a lesson from The Black Keys. The keyboards and reverb heavy vocals give it a tone that differs from the other songs on the album while not seeming too much an awkward outlier. The track’s six minutes rush by, chalk full of amazing instrumental breakdowns and solos that never stray too far from the song’s source.
In the same way that “Gypsy Women”, along with songs like “Livin’ in the Fire”, shows the bands ability to lay down some decidedly rock ‘n’ roll jams, “Molly”, another single-ready song, shows that they have to ability to create interesting and nuanced pop. Though it’s probably intentionally unclear whether the “Molly” in the song is the drug or a women for which the songwriter pines, it’s inconsequential. “Molly” is simply an immediately catchy synth-centric song that demands to be danced along with. It is not simple feat to elicit head banging one moment and electronically induced dancing the next, a feat Motopony accomplishes effortlessly.
Welcome You’s final song, “Where It Goes”, is a glimpse at the way that the band’s first album, and subsequent touring, has perhaps changed their aesthetic as musicians. While the band has found moderate to little commercial success in the United States, they have a much larger following in India, where they have played their largest shows by far. This track both pays homage to this popularity and gives respect to the culture that has embraced them, adding a sitar and an unmistakably “Indian” feel to their established sound.
Just as each song is able to keep things fresh within the construct of four and five minute tracks, the album as a whole stays fluid enough to keep any listener intrigued. Welcome You clearly has a vision, and that vision has been realized with overwhelming success. Despite this, they may not be met with the same kind of overwhelming commercial success because of the inability to classify exactly what you are getting when you put on Motopony album. This should not, and hopefully will not, discourage the band from continuing to explore interesting and varying sounds because in the case of Welcome You, they have created one of the most interesting indie rock albums in recent memory.