Bravely sporting the most uber-macho of band monikers is four-piece Mothertrucker: the imagery in the name soliciting an inevitability of a sordid aural pummelling that rings mostly true across these six solely instrumental compositions. Although Mothertrucker are a bunch of certified bong-fiends, this isn’t just a selection of groove-laden fuzz delivered by a troupe drooling crusties. Instead, the group’s progressive intuitions provide a selection of tracks that twist and mutate from bleary-eyed bludgeons into moments of startling clarity and purity, all the while admirably sidestepping the pitfalls of tedium that purely instrumental acts are at constant odds to avoid.
With vocals defiantly absent, it’s left to the guitars to take precedent and construct an engaging narrative, which they do with a certain aplomb. There are some truly crushing riffs on display, soaked through with last night’s dirty bongwater and lathered in fuzz. ‘Duff’ is a plodding stoner feast, with strings tuned so low at times they seem to be dragging on the ground – until the guitarist steps on a frazzled effects pedal that transports his instrument into the stratosphere in a series of soaring guitar lines. The post-rock indebted ‘Vigo’ lays in stark contrast to the rather uncompromising chug of ‘Duff’ and the metamorphic sprawl of ‘Reef’, eschewing delicate nuances and melodicism that betrays their macho-inclined namesake. Winding its way towards a somewhat transcendent finale, ‘Vigo’ commands a stunning and affecting resonance, the sheer emotional impetus contained in each instrument’s sublime delivery is certainly commendable. In a recurring musical theme of transformation, closer ‘Crypt Stalker’ mutates from delay-ridden twinkly guitar lines into a sordid and rollicking monster in which squalling guitars tear at the aural palette like a knife through a canvas. By the time the closing death-throws are reached, the track is unrecognisable from the skyward trajectory implied by the Explosions In The Sky guitar work, marking out the intro as a lucid daydream in opposition to the grit and violence of the track’s finale.
Despite songs lengths that reach toward the seven minute mark, there is no instance of the music getting bogged down in tiresome repetition or stalling due to lack of worthwhile ideas. Mothertrucker’s are undoubtedly progressively minded, always aiming to take their songs toward musical pathways you’d least expect yet refrain from the often enticing pitfalls of long-windedness and over indulgence. The EP is a perfect example of a progressive instrumental band getting it right, maintaining interest through inventive musicianship and an abundance of dynamism that challenges expectation – music that aims for the epic but doesn’t mull about in getting there.
4 out of 5 high fives!