Courtesy: Metal Blade Records
Covers albums in the music industry’s current age are not what they used to be. At one point many years ago, cover albums were something significant. That’s because they were not churned out as quickly and as effortlessly as they are today. They have today become little more than obligatory space fillers used to fill out contractual agreements for one act or another. It’s very rare in the music industry’s current era to find a covers albums that actually stands out and really catches any listener’s attention. Enter Ride, the debut album from rock super group Motor Sister. The band–Scott Ian (Anthrax), John Tempesta (Prong, White Zombie, The Cult, Exodus), Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint), Jim Wilson (Mother Superior)– took on twelve classic Mother Superior tunes on this album. And it wasn’t because of any contractual obligation. It was because of a single, simple birthday wish from Scott Ian for his 50th birthday. Yes, Scott Ian is really that old. Though, he doesn’t look that old. He got his wish and then some as this compilation proves. And in turn, rock purists around the world have gotten a covers album that actually stands out, grabs audiences from its outset and keeps them engaged throughout the entire course of the album’s twelve tracks and forty-four minutes. This is obvious right from the album’s opener ‘A-Hole.’ Ths song is a straight forward, old school rock song both musically and lyrically. The punk style sound of ‘Fork in the Road’ will impress just as much. And the addition of the slower, bluesy ‘Fool Around’ serves to show the influence of Mother Superior on the band’s members as well as the members’ level of respect for Mother Superior. All three songs noted here are but part of the whole that is Ride. The remaining nine tracks that make up this “superior” covers record make this a record that every rock purist should hear at least once despite being a handful of covers instead of new, original material.
Motor Sister’s debut LP Ride may not be a collection of new, original material. That aside it still proves over the course of its twelve tracks and forty-four minutes to be a covers album unlike so many others. It isn’t just another space filler recording put out to fulfill contractual obligations. It was just a dream project for Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. Because it was just a simple dream, it led to the album having an overall feeling that feels completely unlike almost every other obligatory space filler covers record currently cluttering store shelves and online retailers. There is a certain energy present throughout the album that doesn’t exist on those other covers albums. And it makes the album one that every rock purist should hear at least once. That is clear right from the album’s opener ‘A-Hole.’ On its musical side, ‘A-Hole’s’ pure, old school rock sound instantly grabs audiences by the ear thanks to [John] Tempesta’s timekeeping and Scott Ian’s guitar work. Its full-on driving energy is sure to have every listener on his or her feet dancing along. Lyrically, Jim Wilson adds to that energy in his delivery, singing “The venom of a rattlesnake ratting through my veins like a curse/If I live or die/Well I don’t know which one’s worse/Well I’m diggin’ a hole they can bury me in/Waste of a lifetime living in sin/Red lights flash as I ride right past.” The rebellious vibe of the song’s lyrics coupled with its full-on old-school rock and roll sound make the song the perfect choice with which to open the album. It is just one of the many positive additions to the album, too. The inclusion of the decidedly punk rock style song ‘Fork in the Road’ is another positive that every rock purist will appreciate about this compilation. Audiences can check out the song online now via Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prvB0DlzLEc as the band recently debuted the video for the song.
‘A-Hole’ is a great first impression for Motor Sister on its debut album. The raw, almost garage rock vibe exuded by the song both musically and lyrically shows clearly why it was chosen to open the album’s twelve-track run. It isn’t the only part of the whole that listeners will like about the record, either. The punk rock sound of ‘Fork in the Road’ is just as much a positive n its own right. One could even argue that while it is a cover of a Mother Superior song, there is even a hint of Motorhead in this song, too. Again, Tempesta leads the song with his solid 2/4 time keeping and wild fills. Ian’s guitar work on this cover is just as tight in the song’s verses as in its slower yet just as hard rocking bridge. And coupled with Wilson’s powerhouse vocals, the song proves just as solidly yet in a different fashion why Ride is an album that despite being a covers collection, is one that every rock purist should hear. Wilson sings in this song, “thanks to my losing streak/ I never feel too lucky/There’s lots of strangers on the dark side of town/And if you’re seein’ ghosts/But ever get a picture/It’s a fact that candles never burn and let you down/The truth is the truth/And a lie is just a lie/Fork in the road/which way to go.” The whole thing comes across as Wilson singing in metaphors. It seems to say that we have to make choices all the time in life and that for the outcome in each situation, there are more decisions that must be made along the way. This is of course just this critic’s own interpretation of these words. It could be a wholly incorrect interpretation. Interpretation aside, one thing on which every listener will agree is that being so different from the likes of the album’s opener and its other tracks, it is another prime example of why this is a record that every rock purist should add to his or her own music library.
Both ‘A-Hole’ and ‘Fork in the Road’ are both prime examples of why every rock purist should have Ride in his or her personal music collection. The full-on, old-school rock sound of the prior coupled with the decidedly punk vibe of ‘Fork in the Road’ alongside both songs’ lyrical content shows a certain amount of variety among the album’s track listing. It would have been simple for the members of Motor Sister to just take one specific song and run it through the course of the album’s dozen tracks. But they didn’t do that. The two songs by themselves show that the band set out to really give listeners something worth hearing. Again this is totally apart from all of the obligatory covers albums released by other acts over the years. ‘Fool Around’ proves this just as much with its more reserved, blues-infused feel and thoughtful lyrics. It isn’t just another classic, old-school ballad. Rather, it is a song that will move listeners without the sappy element of those over-the-top ballads from rock’s past. Wilson sings alongside his band mates, “Sorry/I’m confused/You said some things/While we were drinkin’/Don’t get me wrong/It doesn’t bother me/Actually/I’m quite flattered/But you’re blind…get that gun away from your head/Do you want a fool around/do you really want a fool around/Do you really want this fool around?” It’s not exactly the standard blues piece by any means. But it also isn’t the stereotypical ballad, either. And that’s a good thing. It maintains its own identity. And together with both the likes of ‘A-Hole’ and ‘Fork in the Road’–along with the songs not noted here–it is one more piece that proves Ride as a whole truly is an album that every rock purist should have in his or her own music library.
‘A-Hole,’ ‘Fork in the Road,’ and ‘Fool Around’ are all excellent examples of what makes Ride such an impressive recording even for a covers album. They’re just part of the whole that makes it such a musically rich recording. ‘Doghouse’ boasts its own bluesy yet heavier sound that is sure to impress any fan of both rock and the blues. ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ and ‘Beg, Borrow, Steal’ both offer their own equally enjoyable blues-infused rock sound that audiences will enjoy. And then there’s the infectious groove of ‘Get That Girl’ that will have listeners moving just as much as any of the album’s other tracks. Whether for these tracks, the pieces previously noted or the remaining six pieces not discussed, every track on this record plays its own part in making Ride a must have for any rock purist. It is available in stores and online now. More information on Ride and all of the latest updates from Motor Sister is available online now at:
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