Ahead of their first headline show in Whelans on 2nd March, Dublin based alt-rock band Motions have just released their debut EP, The Late Night Calls. Produced by Philip Magee (Kodaline, The Script), it’s a strong, three-track collection that reflects a new level of maturity in both their songwriting skills and arrangement techniques. A subtle blend of artfully crafted, insistent alt-rock and rich, dark electronic atmospherics, Motions’ sound has a polish rarely found amongst their ilk. In fact, it goes beyond ‘straight’ indie or alt-rock, crossing into the more sophisticated realms of blues and blue-eyed soul.
The Late Night Calls EP tracklist: Late Night Calls, Back & Forth, Interlude, Waiting To Tell You
The past twelve months have seen Dublin duo Tom Daly & Dave Nulty slowly evolving their atmospheric brand of bluesy alt-rock. This diligence has paid off, yielding a more sophisticated and tightly woven sound, and while their lyrics remain introspective and at times bleak, the duo has certainly taken their Motions methodology up a level.
Photo Courtesy Whelans Live
“Musical headlights that switch seamlessly from full beam to dip, Motions’ songs are a compelling weave of potent, grizzling guitars, vibrant drum rhythms and infectious, rasping vocals, finished with clever electronic interplay.”
Creating gritty, yearning soundscapes underscored with defiance is grist to the Motion’s mill and nowhere is that more evident than on the EP title track. A plaintive, mid-tempo fusion of intense guitar grizzle, punchy drumming and rhythmic blues-rock basslines, this paean to loss and the resultant emotional roller-coaster that follows, is trademark Motions. Critical reflection brought to life by Tom Daly’s powerful, nuanced vocals backdropped by propulsive, dynamic beats and driving Nulty guitars. Watch the Crooked Gentlemen Produced video for Late Night Calls here.
Where the desolate landscapes of Late Night Calls are populated by edgy riffage and potent rhythms, second track in Back & Forth is pure blues-pop condemnation. A more joyous melody line belies the withering wordage and quasi-vituperative tone. A track in which the Graham Gouldman style bass is pushed high in the mix, it’s laced with an infectious blend of percussive elements and gauzy clouds of vocal harmonies. Redolent of the Doobie Bros at their finest, Back & Forth is well-executed blues-rock with all the pre-requisite pop sensibilities intact.
Interlude is literally that; a twelve-second ‘stream’ into an altogether more relaxed state of consciousness. Waiting to Tell You is a song that reflects on the prevarication and missed opportunities at the root of a broken relationship, on which Daly’s hushed vocal delivery evokes regret and sadness without the usual par for the course bitter bite. Spiralling loops of chiming guitars, hazy harmonies, and brooding basslines, build slowly to a dramatic hard stop; and that’s it. Three minutes of sheer soft-rock lushness during which Nulty’s restrained use of his Fender Telecaster is a testament to his adeptness as a guitarist.
Motions blend evocative lyrics and melodies, with powerful messages and mesmerising rhythms. Their innovative twist on alt-rock fundamentals, incorporating fine elements of blues and soul, makes them one of the more interesting and progressive bands of their generation. When you co-join well-honed, insightful lyricism with proficient musicianship, the resultant outputs are going to be of a sufficiently high quality to allow producers like Philip Magee to add their finesse.
The Late Night Calls, is a sleek, classy three-part drama, with a cleverly contrived narrative, set against an ever-changing backdrop painted from a palette of blues, rock and pop, conveyed with a distinct voice clearly identifiable as Motions. It sets an incredibly high benchmark against which any future albums will be compared.