Power From Below (LP) by Motihari Brigade
Motihari Brigade doesn’t waste any time getting right down to the business of rocking with a cool, confident demeanor in the first track of their new album Power From Below, also titled “Power From Below,” and though this initial burst of aural lightning is quite captivating to put it mildly, it’s only a taste of what the band has in store for all who press on in this tracklist. From the title cut, we ease into the ferocious electric grooves of “Talking To Crazy” and a brutish riff-rocker in “Revolutionary Sweetheart,” both of which carry forth the same fiery intensity that we find in the first few minutes the album has to offer unto anyone who happens to be within earshot.
“The Invisible Hand” starts off with the clamor of the stock exchange before quickly descending into a patterned rhythm that is as expressive as any of the lyrics in the song are. The guitars aren’t as colorful in this track as they are in the sleek “Hold On (Eyes On The Prize),” but let’s face it, not very many string parts can be. There’s so much texture just on the instrumental side of this number that it’s hard to stay tuned in with the vocal, but that isn’t the case at all with “Power To The People,” which just might be the most harmonious tune on the whole of this LP. Motihari Brigade aren’t afraid to get experimental when it serves their sound well, and in Power From Below, they show just how comfortable they are exploring all aspects of their sound – big and small the same.
There’s a heavy British beat to “The Leader” that was stuck in my head long after I listened to this album for the first time, and much like the angsty melodies of “Buy This Product,” the loop of sonic lashings became all the more unforgettable when experienced alongside the rest of the material on the record without interruption from the outside world. Power From Below might not be a straight-up concept album, but it has definitely got the kind of fluidity that one would typically find more commonly among progressive rock units (minus the bombastic theatrics and negatively cheesy camp elements, that is). Although they’re constructed on what feels like opposite sides of the same artistic plain, “Which Side Are You On” runs into “The Flood” without ever skipping a beat, making the music sound more continuous and airtight by design.
With one final gust of a lush string harmony, “Waiting For The Revolution” brings Power From Below to a conclusion, and as powerful a closer as this song is, it doesn’t minimize the impact of the ten tracks that precede it at all – the reverse, really. I wasn’t sure what to think of the new Motihari Brigade album when I first acquired a pre-release copy at the behest of a colleague in the industry, but after giving it some time and attention, I think that it absolutely lives up to the buzz surrounding its release and then some. This is a supremely focused group of players, and if this is only their virgin outing, who knows what they’ll come up with in the future.