CD Review: The Boowoops – Motor On

The first thing you’ll hear on the latest Boowoops album, Motor On, is a plucky acoustic guitar bouncing around a riff that sounds straight off your front porch. That mood carries throughout the length of Motor On, as the Boowoops combine a mood of domestic comfort with the energy of a modest party— only your friends showed up, and they all know your songs. Dealing in matters of the home and real life, the band isn’t a country band, but the guitars are twangy and sometimes so are the vocals, and their way of telling a story is more folk, but there’s something more artistic about it. The riffs are great, especially on the closer, Ashes. I love when a band does a big, syncopated riff with big gaps for vocals to jump out.

The lyrics do more than just tell stories; there are sharp little idioms and clever turns of phrase, nuggets of ideas that get expanded into larger, thematic ideas, and a broad range of focuses from relationships to personal glory and pride and everything else. At the end of a good, focused listen, it makes me really want to know the songwriters. Ben Fletcher and Seth Carlson write in a very comfortable and confident style and the vocal performances are rock solid, with well-tuned voices that know how to convey a feeling as well as a specific tone. The players all hold it down and sound great, and the horns really popped out at me on some of the later tracks. The recording quality is superb and really lets the individual instruments sound great while not dominating the mix.

While there are a couple of weaker tracks in the middle, they aren’t bad by any means and may only pale in comparison to the sharp, creative, and hard-hitting tracks that punctuate the playlist. They do well to not make the 3rd quarter of the album a total sink, as they mix the burners in with the slow burns. When the album finished, I wasn’t relieved, I was very satisfied. Putting ‘Ashes’ last is genius; they know that song makes you want more and leaves an impression like ‘hey, I gotta check these guys out.’ Now I’m gonna go check these guys out.