MOTU – Going Back To Memphis

MOTU – Going Back To Memphis / 2007 Self / 11 Tracks / /

“So Lonely” starts out “Going Back To Memphis”, and it shows MOTU as an act that is tremendously influenced by blues. The male vocals during “So Lonely” have a Randy Newman-like approach to them, and the inclusion of the second, female vocals on the track give the track further expansion. The instrumentation of the track may meander, but the inclusion of both vocals do a great job of reining the instrumentation in. “52 West 8th Avenue” shows more focus in regards to the instrumentation, opening up with a guitar line that is focused, but allowed to wander at key points.

The resulting track shows the ability of the instrumentation to stick along well with the vocals. These two streams converge again during the title track. “Going Back To Memphis” shifts the style of MOTU a bit, to include a more bluegrass type of style. There is a hidden energy to the track that is present in the slide-heavy guitar lines present during “Going Back To Memphis”.  The band makes a heart turn into a classic type of blues sound with their “Clear Water”. This is evidenced not only by the instrumentation present on the track, but even in the lyrical structure employed by MOTU. This means that there is a phrase sung, repeated again, with the third line putting forth another idea. While some of the tracks on “Going Back To Memphis” fit well in today’s music, “Clear Water” shines even more brightly due to its’ use of these earlier style. However, the disc shines brightest with “Walk ‘Till I Fall”.

The dual vocals come back in a major way during this track, and while the instrumentation takes a back seat, there is nuance enough present in these vocals to keep individuals interested throughout the track. The guitar work of Dr. Richard Michelson is something to behold during all 11 tracks of “Going Back To Memphis”. This is because of the full sound that he can provide with just six strings. Notes that typically would not mesh well together are given a new lease on life as Michelson’s skillful fingers link them together. “Going Back To Memphis” has made a convert out of someone that would not typically get within 20 feet of a blues type of album. Even if your tastes are more closely aligned with rock, hardcore, or punk music, it would behoove you to pick up this album.

Top Tracks: I Won’t Be Standing Alone, Clear Water

Rating: 7.1/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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