Motherscratcher was the most focused, least whimsical Ed Hall album issued during the trio's career -- certainly more so than Albert and Love Poke Here -- and it was the first in which Gary Chester's exceptional Paul Leary meets Robert Fripp guitar playing truly sang out. Furthermore, the bottom end, provided by Will Shatter-esque bass player Larry Strub is the perfect architectural framework around which Chester's prickly riffs and trebly, note-driven leads can jab and dance. The opening "White House Girls," with its exaggerated backbeat, and laughing chorus, is a near-perfect example of this. Texturally, Ed Hall, with this album, was beginning to resemble a more cryptic and nuanced, less abrasive version of Flipper, one of the trio's most salient influences. What also distinguishes Motherscratcher from previous Ed Hall efforts is it's more rock-oriented rhythms, perhaps owing to new drummer Lyman Hardy; either way, the approach is more serious, straightforward, and memorable. It is with this album that Ed Hall fully found their voice, even if they had but one album left. "Satori in Manhattan, Kansas" is a strikingly beautiful instrumental, one eclipsed by very little in rock music. Ed Hall's finest album.
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