Motorplant – American Postcard

American Postcard

When I popped the Motorplant disk in the player, I thought I had forgotten to switch to the CD function and had mistakenly tuned into the local rock station. You know the station I’m talking about (because they all seem to be the same around the country). You’ll hear “Smooth” by that guy in Matchbox 20 and some guy named Santana, followed by that song where the guy sings about not being able to make it as a blind man, and then some Sugar Ray. After that a perky pre-recorded voice talks about the “best hits of today” or something like that. Wait a minute here, I’m not making this sound very positive, am I?

Let me clarify my position: It’s probably correct to assume that very few people likely to be visiting DOA are fans of commercial radio and the music they play. And true enough, Motorplant play the sort of slick, feel-good pop anthems that wouldn’t sound out of place sandwiched between Live and Matchbox 20 on one of these stations. But what makes this better than much of the pop/rock out there in the major leagues?

The songs are pretty much all hits, just waiting for the request lines to light up. Right from track one, the driving “Stuck Inside” seems destined for airplay, sounding like something off the Goo Goo Dolls’ A Boy Named Goo. The melody of the song and the vocal harmonies utilized are set on “ultra-catchy,” and you’re sure to be humming this one (whether you want to or not). The band then proceeds to rock through 11 more cuts of catchy pop, each of them putting slight variations on this same guitar-based sound. “Postcard” is an insanely catchy School of Fish-styled rocker, with backgrounds that slyly bring to mind Def Leppard. The excellent “All American,” with it’s gang vocals and thick guitars, is an anthem that stands toe to toe with anything Live has come up with.

In fact, I’m amazed American Postcard is an indie release. The sounds are very well produced, and there isn’t a misplaced note to be found. They obviously spent a great deal of time on this one and created a very slick recording that sits very well up there with the big boys. You’ll find a thick layer of guitars that bring to mind the sounds of the Goo Goo Dolls’ recent efforts, and layers of keyboards that fill in any holes in this all-encompassing sound.

So, what makes this different from the music you’ll hear on the local modern rock station? Well, not much to tell the truth. Personally, I have to give this band respect for going the indie route, because American Postcard certainly could make it in the major leagues. The music reflects this integrity as well: These guys know exactly what they’re doing and the way they want to sound, and they pull it off with a lot of class.