The second installment in Eugene Chadbourne's association with the Italian quartet Zu, Motorhellington is a collection of uncanny renditions of unlikely tunes. Jacopo Battaglia (drums), Luca Thomas Mai (saxophone), Roy Paci (trumpet), and Massimo Pupillo (bass) follow the Doctor through stolen leaves off songbooks belonging to artists as varied as Black Sabbath, James Brown, and Charles Mingus. Zu is a cross between a jazz-rock quartet and a noise-rock/avant-punk band, something quite close to Ne Zhdali, or a less mathematical Doctor Nerve -- thanks mostly to Paci's energy-driven blowing reminiscent of Rob Henke. Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" and Motorhead's "Sacrifice" get a treatment fans of either bands will have problems to suffer -- but then again, the chances they should stumble upon Motorhellington are slim. Heavy metal is not your cup of tea? How about Antonio Carlos Jobim's South American anthem "Corcovado" or Kraftwerk's "The Robots"? Every song is tortured by the punkish energy of Zu and Chadbourne's mocking vocals and off-the-wall playing. If anything, this CD is the proof that at the turn of the century the guitarist was still alive and kicking. This is one of his rockiest, most galvanizing albums yet. Strongly recommended for the shock value, the mock value, the musical value -- and the warning for "explicit gnocchi recipes!"
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AllMusic Review by François Couture