This week’s list of new releases was light years better than the one for July 1st. It was one of the more eclectic collections of new albums I have seen in awhile. Several genres are represented, including blues, metal, rock, singer/songwriter, jazz, alternative, electronic, funk, country and more. Despite the varied sounds, the biggest names with new releases are Aphex Twin, Heart, Chevelle, Eric Gales, The Motet and Eric Krasno. Some of the other stand-outs are from Sean McConnell, Bad Bad Not Good, Frankie Lee and Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley. After sampling all of these, and then some, I went with “Totem”, which is the latest release from Colorado’s own The Motet. I have been listening to The Motet’s music for the last fifteen plus years, and though I haven’t heard a lot of their more recent albums, I have always been a fan.
The opening cut is a 70’s funk throwback with a modern vibe called “The Truth”. The horns and guitar dig deep into this track and assist in making this one highly danceable.
Joey Porter explores the synth sounds of the 80’s, and makes something best described as new wave funk, on “Fool No More”. Garrett Sayers shows-off at the low end with a nice solo before the horns strut their stuff.
There is something that is immediately reminiscent of New Orleans best, The Meters, on “Know It Too Well”. Like their heroes, the band weaves rock and a sand between your toes groove into the Crescent City funk.
“Rippin Herb” has a classic Motet world-funk feel, that has plenty of action to keep that ass shakin’. Joey Porter goes all space-age on the keys and everyone drops out for a fabulous drum and bass excursion on this one.
The band demonstrates tremendous cohesiveness on the Parliament inspired “Damn!”. This track couples 70’s funk and 80’s rock to make something that is a great tribute to the late Bernie Worrell.
The Motet goes back through the years to create “Solar Plexus”, which is a terrific representation of the genres that the band has explored over the last couple of decades.
“So High” comes off like an 80’s R&B number, produced by Rick James. The strings and Joey Porter on the talkbox really took this one back thirty years.
There are qualities of a dream-state and a funky stroll on the instrumental, “Cretan”. It really does have an extremely sweet groove.
Joey Porter starts “Danger” on piano and gets into a New Orleans swagger with some futuristic funk growing on this one like kudzu.
“Cloak & Dagger” harkens back to the days when The Motet was a mostly instrumental band, with something that is kind of a dark afrobeat flavor.
The influence that a group like The Neville Brothers has had on The Motet, is evident on “Back It Up”. Joey’s keys dig a deep valley where jazz lives and thrives and the a cappella outro really sells this tune.
The album concludes with the dubtronic “Contraband”, which is like listening in 3D.
The Motet have been a hidden gem on the Colorado music scene for a long time, but it appears that their time has finally come. This is definitely one of, if not their best album. Not only is it a highly eclectic album, but it gives a sincere tip of the cap to several of the legends that these guys have been covering for years, especially around Halloween. It is no surprise that the influences of bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament Funkadelic and The Meters, are obvious on “Totem”. I would recommend this album to fans of The Motet and any of their many influences. They pay deep respect to the past, while always facing toward the future. I am happy for the guys and for all of us that have gotten to see the changes that have led to this success. The Motet will be playing at Red Rocks on Friday, July 22, with Medeski, Martin & Wood and Vulfpeck. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Enjoy!!
HAPPY LISTENING!!!! 😉