Mean Motor Scooter “Hindu Flying Machine” Review

Mean Motor Scooter’s Hindu Flying Machine is more of a journey than an album, but it’s a particularly pleasant ride nonetheless. Over the course of ten tracks, peculiarities are to be expected. For the most part, they work. A track-by-track review begins below.

We’re Not Alone – Right after the first few riffs, the song plunges the listener into a feast of powerful bass lines. The double time is a surprisingly effective push, and the lo-fi vocals strike an interesting aural imagery of a long-forgotten time.

“Wavespotting” – Sporadic drums guide us through the jungle of a 60s comic scene. The power chords partnered with the bass fuel the ride even further like a vintage mustang sailing in the air above the Mississippi River. It’s a short ride, but it gives enough kick to keep the listener (and possibly a crowd) hyped.

“Sea Serpent” – This one set off with a nearly clean guitar riff, dropping in some serious punches with the full blown band. The vocals are over-driven, reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand.

“Cosmonaut” – Reverb and distortion are king here. What makes this track a standout is its similarity to “Welcome to the Black Parade” by MCR, rendering rendering a satisfying listen between each section. The interlude in particular was a nice touch, and its overall quality is a nice surprise.

“Lizard Man” – Things begin to pick up with “Lizard Man.” While not much of a standout as its predecessors, it features a pretty nice, although short, guitar solo.

“Shape Shifter” – It begins to feel a little routine by this point. The keyboard adds a nice touch, while the bassline is jumpy as always. The female vocals once again pour plenty of life into the track.

“Sam, the Homosapein” – The opening’s immediately sounds very AC/DC, yet with a clean and playful rhythm. The lyrics bring tangible imagery to the mind, and one can clearly visualize the footsteps of the Homosapein.

“Come and Get It” ­– The overall vintage feel is revitalized here. Still in a bit of a routine sonic-wise, but this time it works in the album’s favor.

“Dr.Benway” – This track is more like a succession to the previous track than a song on its own. The keyboard is much more pronounced than in previous tracks.

“Brainhole” – We finally reach the closing track of the album as well as the frenetic journey it took us on. While “Brainhole” could have been better suited for a “middle track,” it still works here. We get a nice summary of the musical themes and motifs.

Verdict: There are indeed some surprises here and there, and the song Cosmonaut is one to keep an eye on. Even though a main criticism its “routine” nature, that’s actually where the album shines the most. It’s familiar. There’s plenty to digest here, and overall Hindu Flying Machine is worth more than one listen.

David Tribble “Thrown” Review

Sometimes, we have to find the royalty within ourselves, a task David Tribble knows can elude us. Luckily, Thrown won’t just try to inspire you to find it. Its mission is to reveal you in the process.

The title Thrown is filled with double-meaning. It’s meant to invoke the feeling of being “thrown” into disarray while doubling as a word play on “throne,” represented in the title image. As an artist who balances his faith with his music, the musical content strives to find the perfect equilibrium between the two. For the most part, it’s charming.

Production-wise, Thrown isn’t a challenging record to take in. Most tracks feature only an acoustic guitar with Tribble’s non-threatening vocals to lead the way. “Feathers,” the first track on the album, gently seeps into our spirit with its Sunday devotional-style lyrics “I won’t grow weary. I won’t grow thin, and I fly like the eagle flies.” Right away, you’re aware of what you’re in for. What follows is more of the same.

“Wife and Daughter” dives a bit more into the storytelling angle as Tribble slowly takes his time to allow the scenes of the song to play out. “Headed down to Texas, west on the interstate, ended up on my front door knocking with his head. He was holding a picture of my wife and daughter, carried the cross of my Lord and savior.”

Soon, we’re lead to the title track, “Thrown.” Fittingly, it encapsulates the true meaning of the album as a whole.

“I’m down here on this basement floor. All I wanted was a glance and nothing more. But now I’m crawling in the dark looking for a light to bring me home. Cuz everything else’s been thrown.”

“Ready to Go Then” puts an echo-y acoustic spin on a very familiar subject: heartbreak. One of the standout tracks, “Ready to Go Then” captures the lingering, free-falling feeling of watching someone you love walk out of your life.  “I don’t want to let to you go, but I know that you are ready to go then.”

“Bible on Tap” eventually brings everything full circle with a more obvious approach to merging Tribble’s religious background into the forefront.

“What if the Bible was on tap, and we all started drinking, drinking it down, catching a buzz on what it teaches about love and hope and forgiving our enemies?”

Where Thrown succeeds is its ability to appeal to the casual listener as well as the religiously disciplined. There are songs dedicated to the Christian faith, but there are also tunes that are appropriate for any occasion. Tribble’s latest work has a catchy duality factor to it, both welcoming and heartbreaking. Strangely enough, it fits together competently.

Check out more from David Tribble here!

Mary J. Blige “Strength of a Woman” Review

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Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman postured itself as a post-divorce battle cry. For an album this anticipated, the stakes were as high as Kendu Isaac’s delusions. Unfortunately, the end result left much to be desired, though this wasn’t the case at first glance. Strength of a Woman starts out with promise, but its potential all but evaporates by the end of its first half.

Post-Breakthrough Mary has often been hit or miss when it comes to her albums as a whole. Sure, she still gives us a gem or two, something remarkable given the painful, emotional journey she’s chonicled over the last 12 albums she’s released. Like her most recent projects, Strength of a Woman often tries to recapture the magic of personal masterpieces like My Life and The Breakthrough, but the end result seems to run away from her before we get the fully-realized, heart-wrenching gut punch Auntie Mary has been known for.

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