Album Review: MOTOR / ‘Man Made Machine’ (CLRX)


MOTOR are not a mild mannered, mirror-gazing electro unit. With their synthesisers played with knuckledusters and with a stellar guestlist of Gary Numan, Depeche Mode’s Martin L Gore and Billie Ray Martin, MOTOR’s Bryan Black and Oly Grasset take simple mechanics and pump them full of anti-preening agent (they save the catwalk soundtracks for their days off). They aren’t over-vamping with animosity either, but as with Martin on “Hyper Lust,” the warpath is bearing the brunt of their occupancy and shows pop doesn’t have to pretty in pink.

Hang on though, one skeptical observer asks, aren’t MOTOR cyber–punks? And, as with the Numan feature “Pleasure in Heaven” and Douglas McCarthy sounding like an Alice Cooper droid on “The Knife,” isn’t that old news?’ Well…quite simply MOTOR kick it louder than most, arming laptops with rocket launchers and proudly beating a Euro-rooted drum. Even if the CPU science can be a little oversimplified (“Autographic”), the theater of piano requiem “Auotmne” helps turn the whole piece into a board-treading compu-drama, stirring up digital emotions but always intense at whatever end of the scale. The title track, almost feeding Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” through a fibre-optic shredder, makes a stomping din revelling in arena-sized conditioning, and with the equally dominant “Control,” MOTOR have the potential to swallow stadia whole.
File under: The Japanese Popstars, Jimmy Edgar, The Presets