The Motives

So Much More

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The Motives have been around in various configurations since 1998, and this is the band's debut CD release. Their three years of woodshedding and playing out have paid off handsomely: the Motives' sound is an impressively well-developed hybrid of reggae, ska, funk, and even country, characterized by intricate, flowing basslines, beautifully arranged horn charts, and better-than-average vocals. Interestingly, the guest artists on So Much More include banjo legends Tony Trischka and Bela Fleck. Trischka contributes tasteful pedal steel guitar on "Cat" (a minor-key ska tune which continues the feline theme that dominates the album's cover art), while Fleck plays nearly subliminal banjo on the similarly ska-flavored "Someone Else's Life" and both banjo and guitar on "A Friend in Need." Most of the album stays more in a mainstream reggae vein -- not old-school roots and culture reggae for the most part, but modern reggae with dancehall sheen and a rootsy foundation. Highlights include the excellent "Cowboy" and the even better "Bubblin' Pot," a dancehall workout featuring great interplay between singers Marcia Davis and Brian "Milo" Lowe. Highly recommended.

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