Roadwork Vol. 4: Intrepid Skronk

RLP 3110LP RLP 3110LP

Gatefold 2LP version. This is the latest installment in Motorpsycho's ongoing series of live documents, Roadwork. It was recorded across Europe over a three-year period spanning 2008-2010, and is the first live record released featuring the Snah/Bent/Kenneth line-up of the band. As finding a complete show fit for release proved difficult, and modern technology makes it real easy to fake a chronology that would work well from a listener's point of view, Roadwork Vol. 4: Intrepid Skronk is a collection of moments from the last several tours Motorpsycho's undertaken since Kenneth Kapstad joined on drums in 2007, and features material from all phases of their career. The previous installment in this series, Vol 3.: The Four Norsemen Of The Apocalypse, released as part of the Haircuts DVD in 2007, was a recording of the Snah/Bent/Geb/Baard line-up of the band recorded at the Paradiso in Amsterdam in 2003. It documented a band disintegrating from ceaseless touring and ever-increasing differences of ambition: flaming out, but still bravely trying to -- and in parts actually managing to -- connect with the muse. Let's just say the tension is tangible. This is a different cup of tea. This is a living, breathing muscle-car of a rock band in full flight, stretching the limits of their imaginations (and sometimes the patience of their audience!) by going someplace new as often as possible -- creating a new collective identity for themselves and reimagining the material in the process. The focus of the two volumes -- and the series as a whole -- is the same though: the improvising rock band. The versions of the songs contained herein all have one thing in common: they are all really different from the studio incarnations of themselves. "All Is Loneliness," an acoustic five minute hymn in its original state on Demon Box (1993), is here an 18-minute electric behemoth slouching towards, Haarlem (?) to be born anew. The somewhat stilted orchestral psych version of "Landslide" from the 2002 Phanerothyme album has become something altogether more organic and jazzy here, and "Arnie Hassle"'s kozmic kayaking escapades from Heavy Metal Fruit (RCD 2093CD/RLP 3093LP) had grown into epic proportions by the time it hit Leipzig in the summer of 2010. It's this kind of reinvention that is the focus of everything going on here, and although the adrenalin wins out in places and the kinetic energy the boys amass sometimes becomes almost too much for them to handle, the power trio's antics make for an exciting listen. Riding the tiger indeed, the band sometimes tethers on the brink of fusion, jazz-rock, and other forms, but mostly manages to rein in the beast on the right side of taste. Mostly.