3 out of 5
Label: Secretly Canadian
Produced by: Dave Doughman
The two-man Who!… when they have the energy to be. I can imagine the live show well enough: SaM the dweaty duo on stage, working through their three minute blasts of relationship and touring woes, intercut by lead Dave Doughman’s guitar-only snippets and lyrical self-damning insights, and likely further intercut with rollicking and banter and distracting rowdiness.
Yes, Swearing at Motorists as a life-we-lead experience is probably an entrancing thing. It’s also proven rather hard to effectively capture on album, though. The same kind of see-saw of emotions that can energize a show leaves a big ol’ question mark as to how to sequence things on any given Motorists release, as their double handfuls of tunes often only amount to 20ish minutes of airtime, and are thus padded out by the aforementioned snippets. …Which aren’t worthless by any means, but they are what they are: fragments of thoughts and feelings. Used as bridges between minor epics – album Number Seven Uptown accomplished this fairly well – helps to keep us immersed for the ride. On Last Night Becomes This Morning, though, a lot of these inbetweener tracks are shunted to album’s end, which is possibly maybe a capture of recording the songs on the road and thus effecting a picture of a high spirited start to an exhausted end… or it might just be that the Highs on the disc – weighted toward the beginning of it – are so grand that the other material doesn’t stand a chance. Multi-tracked, booming drums, and the briefest of keys and horn accompaniments make Timing Is Everything or Not Tonight the best of the best. Your heart will sink; your stomach will drop; you’ll pray to the almighty altar of pop genius. …And then your attentions will wander during that last batch of songs, during which Doughman and drummer Joseph Siwinski seem to wander about for inspiration instead of being struck with it and managing to hit record in time.
And maybe that’s for the best, as those golden moments are so good – and such rollercoasters of emotion – that adding more might’ve been too much. It’s gotta be exhausting to tour all the time; to live the life of these songs. And that takes it’s toll in the form of an imperfect album. But damn if its glimmers of perfection don’t just make you even more of a SaM fan than you were before.