As the music business moves towards a global release date (all new albums will come out on Friday from this summer onwards), we’ve decided to select a single release every Friday that’s really worth shouting about. The debut by Motor Sister is the first.
The vital stats don’t necessarily scream ‘record of the week’. A bloke from Anthrax decides that what he really wants to do for his 50th birthday is play songs by a little-known, disbanded LA band, former Henry Rollins backing group Mother Superior. Preferably with his wife. And a former member of the band.
A whim never to actually be fulfilled, surely? Like that time you decided to form a Boston tribute act with your best mate, or learn the entire Blue Cheer back catalogue. Fun idea, but it just won’t happen. Not so, however, if you’re Scott Ian – Anthrax guitarist, lord of the beard and devout Mother Superior fan. Oh no, if you’re Ian you enlist your singing spouse (Pearl ‘Daughter Of Meat Loaf’ Aday), who enlists the former frontman of Mother Superior (Jim Wilson, with whom she’d been working on her solo material), which leads to a glorious covers night – the band completed by members of The Cult and Armoured Saint. Which then leads to a record deal with Metal Blade, and this album. Which, as of this week, can be yours.
Yes, Ride is basically a covers record, regenerating Mother Superior’s massively underrated hits. But to dismiss it on these grounds, or to think of it as somehow less of a ‘bona fide creative work’, would be a mistake. Wilson, Ian and co don’t just regurgitate these soulful, bluesy rock tracks. Armed with the second guitarist Mother Superior never had, plus Aday’s lush tones, Motor Sister create passionate, invigorating takes on good-time numbers and softies alike. And hell, given that Mother Superior’s star remained quite so obscure, the majority of listeners today might as well be listening to new material.
Ultimately we recommend this record not for its revolutionary properties, but because it is fantastically enjoyable from start to finish. And about a hundred times more colourful than one may expect from a thrash heavyweight like Ian. Some of his metallic heft does feed into proceedings, making for monstrously groovy headbangers like Little Motor Sister (yes, this is where the band gets its name) – all menacing crunch and tree-trunk power chords. But this comes with touches of funky syncopation, tasty blues licks, wah-filled guitar in the likes of Doghouse, sassy power pop in Get That Girl… all manner of hard rock’n’roll treats to satisfy a lot of listeners. The exultant second coming of a grossly overlooked piece in rock history.
Who knows whether Motor Sister will be a one-off venture, or grow into something more permanent – writing new material, even (seemingly the chemistry between them is more than up to it). Either way, Ride is well worth owning in its own right.