Motorifik: Secret Things (Modern Language Recordings) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #33 - Fall 2010 - InterpolMotorifik

Secret Things

Modern Language Recordings

Nov 15, 2010 Issue #33 - Fall 2010 - Interpol Bookmark and Share

Motorifik, the side project of Working for a Nuclear Free City’s Phil Kay, and accompanied by French songwriter Idrisse Khélifi, is rife with pop flourishes and dance elements that nod often to the fabled scene of Kay’s hometown of Manchester. It largely eschews the more esoteric, exploratory elements that have been favored of late by his main band in favor of well-crafted, conventional pop tunes.

Despite the straightforward nature of the songs, it encompasses a wide breadth stylistically, running the gamut from winsome, Lennon-esque numbers (“Nameless Colour,” “Nostalgie”) to a track that rather audaciously emulates the Spartan shoegaze grind of Ride (“Ghosts”).

But at the core these are exquisitely crafted compositions that exhibit an astounding command of nuance, and also evince a flat-out staggering level of production acumen. The glorious sheen of “Strange Weather” in particular illustrates how adroit Kay is as an engineer, pairing Beach Boys-like harmonies with a My Bloody Valentine-ish braying wash of melodic noise. The taut throb of “A Vision” falls flat, an insipid, harmonica- guided Happy Mondays send-up. But this is thankfully one of the record’s only missteps.

Closing track “Flames on the Ocean” is the most bracingly heart-wrenching song on the record, and also its best. As Kay aches and sighs dejectedly, “Let it roll and roll all over you/You can feel it if you try,” a gently plucked spindly acoustic guitar gives way to ethereal backing vocals and bleeding keyboards akin to Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. The track is a kindred spirit to Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” and is an appropriately divine close to a rollercoaster ride of a record, one whose dizzying peaks certainly outstrip its occasional valleys. (

Author rating: 8/10

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