Motorbike: Motorbike [Album Review]

Feel It Records [2023]

The Fire Note headphone approved

I love it when a record comes out of nowhere and completely knocks you over after the first spin. Motorbike’s self-titled debut did just that with its full-throttle, high-stakes rock ‘n’ roll assault that will make you a believer in its short twenty-seven-minute runtime. The five-piece Welsh-American band from Cincinnati, Ohio, was formed just last year, but the sonic synergy here sounds like the group has already reached veteran status. It also helps that its members have solid band resumes which include Pale Angels, Tweens, The Serfs, Crime of Passing, Vacation, and The Drin. Motorbike soars, blending classic punk rock that has a mix of The Gun Club and Wipers, with a modern post-punk savvy reminiscent of early Parquet Courts.

Right from the introductory guitar chords in the opening title track, “Motorbike,” the song sets the stage as it focuses more on the instruments than the vocals. It’s as if the band is warming up for their set, but the song is note-perfect and grabs your attention for what comes next. That next track is “True Method,” which now puts the vocals out front with some catchy call-outs and hard-driving reckless rhythms. Song after song, Motorbike’s signature sound is defined by Jamie Morrison’s unyielding vocals and the band’s tight instrumentation. The dual guitar work throughout the album by Dakota Carlyle and Philip Valois is solid, combining aggressive punk-driven rock chords with anthems that make you want to throw your fists in the air. The fiery pounding of “Throttle” and “Pressure Cooker” brings an Idles vibe to tape, while “Spring Grove” has several grandiose rock moments reminiscent of The Who as Motorbike swing for the fences and hit it out of the park. The rhythm section, comprised of Jerome Westerkamp (bass) and Dylan McCartney (drums), provides a solid foundation, maintaining a driving energy that continually propels the album forward.

What really makes Motorbike such a great listen and debut is how the record does not live or die by “all gas and no brake.” Songs like the smartly building “Potential To Ride” and the closer “The Language” combine their approach and truly showcase the depth of this band, going beyond the three-chord punk rock stigma. Motorbike stays gritty and sounds like they are out to prove something with every line and note. That edge proudly tells everyone that Motorbike hails from the Midwest and they will totally kick your ass – just like the album does!

“True Method” / “Spring Grove” / “Pressure Cooker”

Parquet Courts / Idles / Wipers

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Christopher Anthony
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