NOTE: The following is written by Declan Poehler. He is the editor of and founded the blog “What Is Frederick?” You can read more of his work at whatisfrederick.com
DoubleMotorcycle recently released their second effort, “DoubleMotorcycle II”. How does it sound in contrast to their first album of solid indie rock?
The album begins with the transcendental instrumental intro song “Henry Louis.” It leaves a lot of mystery into how the album will sound as a follow up to the band’s debut.
Kicking into the second track and first single, “Evil,” you’ll hear a staple sound for the group. It’s already an exciting live number from the single time I’ve heard it in person — catchy woo’s dominate the chorus along with rowdy 1-2-3-4’s. The title is shouted before a ripping guitar solo tears the song apart. This is everything that makes DoubleMotorcycle stand out.
“Keep Me Up” drives on with the familiar riffage of the White Stripes or early Band of Skulls. It’s a song that could easily stand on its own with a two-piece band, but Andrew Bromhal (Silent Old Mtns.) contributes bass on the album. This song is where you can imagine the band’s live act really showing off (it’s also their first studio track over three-minutes long). If you haven’t experienced their live show, you can’t begin to understand the wild spontaneity between guitarist/singer Joe Jalette and drummer Colin McGuire. The rowdy unit often engages crowds in clapping and singing along. Jalette utters the kookiest words and McGuire gets up from the drums to run around and stand on tables. Nonsensical lyrics create a crazed atmosphere with Jalette’s ferocious and forceful vocals.
“Get It Out” follows the band’s traditional formula. The breakdown mid-song is surprisingly intergalactic with fun sporadic tom-tom beats and even some strange synth parts. The jam ultimately ends the song a little polished, studio-wise, and it seems the band struggled to find their natural chaos without a crowd.
“Henry Louis Pt. 2” is a little out of place, but serves as the perfect lead in for “John Patrick,” another instrumental number that only truly clocks in at 30 seconds — plus six seconds of studio banter.
“Gasoline” has the lyrical flow that is the group’s identity: “It’s like gasoline in my dashboard ashtray, give me more,” sings Jalette. The bridge is one of the most intriguing works as the diverse drum beats follow no exact pattern, jumping around, and Jalette’s guitar playing adds dynamic subtlety.
“Feet on the Ground” contains some bizzare auto-tune Daft Punk-like vocal effects and four-on-the-floor rhythms, but Jalette is on the other side of things keeping that garage rock feel. It’s another sound you don’t expect from DoubleMotorcycle, and then there’s a rap verse in the middle from daMood’s Ricole Barnes. Here’s the catch: It still has a melodic feel, so it’s not just an eclectic mash of madness.
“The Clown” is a standout favorite on the album and captures the raucous energy experienced in so many tunes. A shouted “f — yeah!” from Jalette only emphasizes this point.
“John Patrick Pt. 2” ends the album on a short note before a hidden track comes in to close it all. It’s a parody country song that couldn’t be more hilarious. The bonus is a gem and embodies the sheer comedic genius of the band. Stereotypical country lyrics full of cliches twist into a brilliant tinge of insanity.
All together, the album contains some of the most fun you’ll ever have listening to music. It’s got catchy hooks, wild guitar solos, hard-hitting classic drums, pure silliness and even some rapping. The group just allows themselves to go. What else would you expect from DoubleMotorcylce? Their first effort left you with just the right amount of wonder and the second leaves you confused. The band is weird, but you didn’t imagine things getting this weird this fast. There are three songs that fit the bill as songs every listener can accept, while the rest are for those who’ll actually “listen” and try to figure out what the hell to think of them. It’s a fun effort and something different — both don’t happen too often these days.
*** THREE OUT OF FOUR STARS ***