MotorowlThis young band from Germany specialise in 1970s hard rock. On the face of it seems a strange direction to take, but what was clear from the outset is that Motorowl know to craft a powerful groove-laden song. Yes, the opening and title track does have the 70s crunch and the organ which seemed to be an obligation for album-producing hard rock bands of that era, but it’s very well delivered. With Dan Swanö taking charge of the mixing and mastering, no sound opportunity was going to left unturned.

I can’t say this album gave me unconditional pleasure. Maybe it’s not to my personal taste. “Om Generator” has interest. We’re barely three minutes into “The Highest City Part I”, and we’re into the fourth phase of the song, having started in 70s style, worked through dark doom, speeded up and moved towards a guitar and organ frenzy. But I found it shapeless. Part II follows immediately, and starts reflectively. Gloom is at the core but the organ picks it up and adds a bit of fire at the end. It’s clearly not in Motorowl’s nature to stick with one style in one song. Whilst I get that the unexpectedness makes it progressive, psychedelic or whatever, and it’s not irregular, I didn’t find it logical or particularly easy to listen to this re-shaped acid rock. “Old Man’s Maze” bucks the trend and sticks to the core genre this album represents – it’s ok and has life but it’s not outstanding, and the singer’s higher range voice was grating with me. “One and Zero” moves into stoner territory. The guitarist and drummer step it up and it’s evident that they’re trying to make it more exciting, but it’s just not an exciting song. “Beloved Whale” is again a bit too leaden, with too many elements including classic rock, harsh growls and post rock not adding up to anything in particular. It’s a pity because there is raw power in the sound, but it was leaving me underwhelmed all the time. A Hawkwind-style psychedelic passage is infused into the rock riff of “White Horse”, and then the image is spoilt with a weak chorus, which manages to shake off all the previous impact. The track ends suddenly but it wasn’t going anywhere anyway. A nice post rock ring swings us into “Spiritual Healing”. Harsh vocals and instrumentation blend well and lead us into a more doom-like structure, from which a powerful cosmic psychedelia emerges – I can’t understand why Motorowl hadn’t created this atmosphere earlier. It finally strung together, even when it stops and there is a languid guitar solo to close, but enhanced once more by the eerie whistlings of cosmic psychedelia.

I found “Om Generator” a bit all over the place. The sound quality is there but for me Motorowl needed to expand on the passages and structures they had in a modern but most importantly a more coherent way, instead of heading off to new territories and leaving the listener trying to work out what on earth they were trying to do and what picture they were trying to paint.

(6/10 Andrew Doherty)