CD Review: Motor Sister – Ride

CD Review: Motor Sister – Ride
Metal Blade Records
All Access Rating: A

Motor Sister - Ride 2015
Motor Sister is sort of a reincarnation of Mother Superior, a trio from Los Angeles that unabashedly glorified ballsy '70s American hard rock, fiery proto-punk and bluesy soul in the '90s before calling it quits in the early 2000s after a run of eight strong, and sadly under-appreciated, albums.

Mother Superior could never break through the flannel-clad ceiling of the grunge era, but they did catch the ear of Anthrax's Scott Ian, as well as punk icon Henry Rollins. In fact, the Jim Wilson-led outfit once served as Rollins' backup band, with session work for the likes of Alice Cooper, U2 producer Daniel Lanois, Meat Loaf, Iggy Pop and many others also on their lengthy list of credits.

Now comes Motor Sister, a quickly thrown together project that grew out of Ian's burning desire to reunite Mother Superior for his recent 50th birthday party, where the groundwork for the Metal Blade Records release of heady, straightforward rock 'n' roll that is Ride was laid. First, there was a quick rehearsal, and then a blazing performance of Mother Superior material from Ian, drummer John Tempesta (The Cult, White Zombie), bassist Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint) and Ian's wife Pearl Aday – a frequent collaborator with Wilson on her own solo work – that left the 25 or so people who witnessed it, including some industry types, gobsmacked.

Wasting no time whatsoever, Motor Sister – still basking in the afterglow of that momentous occasion – went into the studio with producer Jay Ruston and knocked out Ride in a couple of days, the organic spontaneity of those sessions emanating from earthy, soulful rockers like "This Song Reminds Me of You" and the sunny Zeppelin-meets-Sly and The Family Stone funk workout "Pretty in the Morning," as well as the swaggering, meaty riff bonanza "Get That Girl."

Reminiscent of the wild, frenzied punk fury stoked by the MC5 in their heyday, "A Hole" and "Fork in the Road" are conflagrations that burn hot and fast, while the hormonal urges of "Beg Borrow Steal" and "Little Motor Sister" – from which the new band's name was taken – have the crunchy, stomping appeal of early KISS or UFO. These old Mother Superior songs didn't need a kick in the ass, but Motor Sister gives it to them anyway, Tempesta's drumming breaking rocks in the hot sun, the sharply defined tones of the guitars rich and powerful, and the trailer-park desperation in the vocalizing of Pearl and Wilson recalling that of X's John Doe and Exene Cervenka, especially in a catchy little slice of up-tempo, Americana-inspired jangle called "Head Hanging Low." And then there's "Devil Wind," where strummed acoustic guitar lends a sense of mystery before giving way to grinding, rumbling metallic riffs, its dual personality, so vulnerable and angry, a vague harbinger of trouble on the horizon.

Hitch a Ride with Motor Sister, and let them take you to a place and time you thought had disappeared, an era when good, honest, simple songwriting and stacks of amplifiers delivered messages of sexual healing, lusty adventure and hard-earned life lessons.
– Peter Lindblad

In stores on March 11, 2015.
Metal Blade Records: Motor Sister

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