Motorgoat, The Days of Thirst: Imbibe Irresponsibly

How someone didn’t beat them to the name, I’ll never know, but Bavarian creamers Motorgoat storm out of the gate with The Days of Thirst – the first EP from this hard-drinking foursome. If their logo looks like something you’d see on a doppelbock label, it’s not a coincidence: the burl on the EP’s four tracks comes through boozy-breathed and with all the subtlety one might expect from a song called “Alcoholic Supernova.” What they really have going for them through the self-released The Days of Thirst’s 19-minute runtime is charm. From the beer can top-popping that starts “Alcoholic Supernova” through the burp that caps closer “Werewolves on Wheels” (named for the 1971 movie), Motorgoat rev up straightforward heavy biker rock, dudely and occasionally falling over itself – as drunkards do – but still regaining consciousness in time to rock some more. The two songs in between the opener and the closer, “Curse of the Motorgoat” and “Days of Thirst” don’t do much to expand the sonic palette, though “Days of Thirst” is longer and has more going on structurally, but they show some songwriting potential and seem to further the idea that Motorgoat don’t want much more than to get loaded and rock out. The EP being self-released, and their first, there’s not much more I could see reasonably asking of it than what it delivers, especially as the tracks are catchy and, true to their intent, go well with a frosty beverage or two. Or six.

Fans of the last couple Orange Goblin records will be able to grasp Motorgoat’s approach almost immediately. “Alcoholic Supernova” is led by the riffs of Raffael and topped with the rough-but-clean vocals of Matthias, whose punkish delivery has the effect of dirtying up most of The Days of Thirst, and bassist Benedikt and drummer Simon hold down straightforward rock rhythms behind. Nobody in the band is showy in their playing, and the songs work for being relatively simple – at 3:25, “Alcoholic Supernova” would barely have time in it anyway for indulgent soloing from Raffael or anyone else – while still staying upbeat enough to hold the attention. “Curse of the Motorgoat” leans a little more on Benedikt’s bass tone for the verse groove, which comes through well even in a rough-edged production, with Matthias saying something about London, England, in the chorus that I can’t quite make out. If it’s an idea taken from classic horror, it would make sense given Motorgoat’s overall approach and the familiarity “Werewolves on Wheels” would seem to connote, but I can’t be sure. Raffael takes a few measures for a solo, as if to give me time to process, but even that’s not enough (I’m a little slow), and soon Simon is thudding the band’s way into the final chorus, which is catchy but perhaps not as much so as that of “Alcoholic Supernova.” With “Days of Thirst,” the gears shift somewhat and Benedikt opens the song quietly on bass, a developing intro gradually introducing the drums and more ethereal guitar for about the first 45 seconds until the riff and Matthias kick in almost in tandem. The third is the most satisfying of the EP’s four tracks — even if the chorus riff pinch-harmonics get grating after a while – for its more relaxed feel and better balance of groove and pace.

Not that a full-length of all the same kinds of songs would necessarily work, but as The Days of Thirst is essentially a more professional demo from Motorgoat, the diversity – or at least the potential for it – they show in “Days of Thirst” is worth noting. Neo-fuzz by way of Truckfighters makes its way into Raffael’s verse riff, and Matthias is perhaps at his drunkest yet for the vocals, which eventually give ground to Simon’s drums to introduce “Werewolves on Wheels” in the EP’s smoothest transition between songs. They finish in similar fashion to how they started, straight-ahead, no frills riffing similar to “Curse of the Motorgoat,” including a guitar solo break that’s encouraging as a sign of things to come from Raffael. The Days of Thirst is back to basics biker-isms, but inoffensive stylistically and seems to be aware of the influences it’s working from. Plus, with the can-opening at the beginning and the burp at the end, you can call the whole thing a concept record if you want, where you open the tracklisting, consume it, and let out a satisfied bit of gas when it’s over. I don’t know if Motorgoat intended the EP itself to be a drink you were having when they did that, but it’s a pretty fitting summation all the same of the basic themes they’re working with – which should be well familiar to experienced listeners within the genre. As a starting point for a new band just getting their feet in terms of their development, Motorgoat’s hearts seem to be in the right place. Now let’s just hope their livers hold up.

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