Motion Commotion - EP
Released October 10th
Concept albums almost always either go above your head, lacking any real discernable features that would make you think there was any actual significance to the flow or lyrical awareness, or are overly blunt in their tenor, coming off corny or over thought. The allure of using a story to guide an artist’s ideals along never has really translated well for me, especially lately with the idea pushing the bandwagon in the opposite direction of artistic expression. Motion Commotion, an indie-rock collective out of Brooklyn, hopes to set the concept record standards to a respectably attainable level.
All four members have, surprisingly, attained quite a prestigious class in music. Elliot Stevenson (bass) studied under Grammy award winner Freddric Hand as well as having his expertise with synth and electronics documented in various handbooks and manuals. Drummer James Cucinotto worked under Ayako Oshima, a well-known classical musician, after graduating Cum Laude at the Purchase Conservatory of Music. So on and so forth. With this knowledge under their belt, its easy to see how Motion Commotion are able to create a cleverly catchy indie-rock song (“BBC Sue”) as well as a delicate piano-driven ballad (“Early Grave”) with such comfort and finesse. You could argue that at points the song is almost too slow for their own good (“Make Love”), but an attentive ear will find more than enough to value.
Basing the concept of the record more on how each song flows, violins, tape loops, accordions, keys, and sporadic clarinet sighs coalesce with the a-typical rock accoutrement, creating a familiar but fresh sound. Though the connection between each tracks’ lyrics is conceptual in its own right, simply altering this familiar genre to hit people in a more “classical” way really defines how this EP is considered a “concept album”. James Wolff’s high-pitched violin is in fact a mainstay of the album, most notably on the instrumental “Motion”. No other song this year will leave you as utterly taken aback as this three minute classical piece. Ayvas’s acoustic guitar chirps and mutters, leaving the floor for Wolff’s shrill violin to glide in the foreground alongside Elliot’s pleasant piano stroll.
The vocal department does lack polish, however. Emanuel, while fit to be the band’s lyricist, carries an often irritating tune vocally. The track “Breath is a Bridge” finds him closing with a Thom Yorke-like grate, hitting all choral keys except the right one. While it fits with the general moody ambience of the song, it really is just an ear-soar. He makes stabs at the melancholy, for the better part of “Make Love”, and at the playful such as in “Commotion”, neither really rendering the artistic intentions of the band.
Despite a few expected shortcomings on the band’s more-or-less debut, Motion Commotion’s EP may come as a surprise to some, but may alienate listeners with its all too chancy addition of a classical aesthetic. For those who can appreciate the finer points, this release will bring out more reactions than the band’s name implies.