The Motions

Singles A's & B's

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The Motions may be unknown or barely known to most '60s rock fans outside of their native Netherlands, but they certainly recorded prolifically. Much of the evidence is on this two-CD, 54-track compilation, which as the title portends has more A-sides and B-sides from their 1964-1970 singles than even most collectors suspected existed, also including five songs from solo 45s by singer Rudy Bennett. With liner notes in both Dutch and English and much in the way of discographical information and photos, certainly it's a good package for presenting highlights of their output. It's a mighty uneven listen, however, in part due to the decision to compile the A-sides on the first CD and the B-sides on the second, rather than alternating A-sides and B-sides in the order of their release to make a smoother chronological progression. The best attributes of their music are the usually competent, often respectable-to-decent variations the Motions produced on British (and sometimes American) pop trends, emulating the sounds of the British Invasion in their early days before exploring various shades of soul, psychedelia, and late-'60s pop. The most serious shortcomings, as was the case with some other European bands, was a lack of stylistic identity, almost making you feel as if you're listening to an anthology with tracks by several bands, not just one. It's the earlier material that's most popular among English-speaking collectors and stands up best, with "Everything That's Mine" offering some of the best imitation early Who ever taped; tunes like "Wasted Words" epitomizing the folky melancholy common to many a Dutch '60s band; and "We Fell in Love" marking a milestone in minimal quasi-Merseybeat, the lyrics consisting solely of a repetition of the song's title. You also get lowlights like the novelty vaudevillian beer-drinking-like song "Tonight Will Be Stoned" (one of their biggest hits, alas); Bennett's solo single "Amy," which would have fit snugly into Engelbert Humperdinck's repertoire; and the unbelievably bizarre "Little Boy's Life," which sounds like an attempt at Mothers of Invention-like satire by guys who speak English as a third language. Most of this, however, fits unobjectionably between these extremes, providing satisfactory period mid- to late-'60s listening without many songs of standout quality.