Motorpsycho is by far the most inventive, respected and influential force in modern Norwegian music and "Timothy's Monster" won't leave the listener wondering why. Chronically impossible to box into a genre, and producing albums "quicker than most people change their underwear" (at least according to one of the band members), their ever-changing musical expression has gained them cult-status in Norway and the better part of Western Europe.
"Timothy's Monster" is their '94 lo-fi adventure, and possibly the most radio-friendly and commercial of their classic 90s work (although its commercial potential and radio friendliness only exists in comparison with other parts of their discography). The album is part of what I would call the golden era of Motorpsycho - the time when the band in the course of a few years produced classics such as "Timothy's Monster", "Blissard", "Angels and Daemons at Play", "Trust Us" and - under the claim of making the soundtrack to an obscure German western movie they released "Tussler", a country-music adventure done by an extended Motorpsycho for the occasion named The International Tussler Society. (Originally released in a very limited edition, it was re-released last year and is now available to the broader audiences).
"Timothy's" has often been described as the entry ticket to the wonderful world of Motorpsycho, a description that is quite accurate. The album is spread over two CDs, the first one consisting of 11 "short" tracks (in the world of Motorpsycho, anything less than 10 min. is considered short...). The form of the music indicates a break with the band's heavy metal past, drawing more from the band's love of Sonic Youth and Pixies, yet still managing to create a soundscape so original it is impossible to describe by the mere use of references. A light, fuzzy and noisy lo-fi sound mixed with melodies that are at times interrupted by noise-filled breaks, and at times repetitive in the Sonic Youth interpretation of the word, the album not only defined the sound of Trondheim, but has also been of invaluable importance to the city's music scene.
Staying true to the term lo-fi, the first track, "Feel", is recorded in band member Bent's own living room, with four track equipment and questionable quality of sound. However, the rawness of the recording adds to the beauty of the melody and the simplicity of the arrangements, making it a gorgeous opening to an even better album. "Kill Some Day" is the closest one comes to a radio hit from this album, but with the exception of Norwegian radio's legendary "Roxrevy", it hardly made it to the broad masses. The two last tracks of the CD, "Watersound" and "Giftland", are longer, more repetitive and telling of what is to come once you switch CDs.
The second CD of the album at first appears as somewhat of a B-side. Four tracks, some of them very long, display a distinctly different and more heavy-inspired Motorpsycho from the one presented on CD one. But as the music of Motorpsycho is of the kind that tends to grow on you, you'll find that after a few listenings you're digging the 20-minute long "The Wheel" or any of the other tracks at a much more frequent basis than the 11 tracks of CD one.
Why Motorpsycho hasn't sold in the American market might seem a mystery, but the explanation may be quite simple. Through the better parts of the 90s, when the band was at the height of their creative powers, Motorpsycho achieved underground success in most European countries. But their music was far too progressive to be accepted by the hype-machinery in Britain, and the lack of success there, combined with limited resources for promotion, effectively hindered the band from being released in the US. It was actually not until the bands 'revolver' album, "Let Them Eat Cake", a sort of suicide and rebirth of the band into a much more jazz and pop oriented pack that Motorpsycho decided to try their luck across the pond. Sadly, their new music wasn't as adaptable to the indie-market as their previous works, and their refusal to ever play old songs in concert might just be part of what's hindering them from selling as much as they should do.
For anyone caring to read this, and who have an interest in progressive rock, lo-fi and the works of Sonic Youth, Pixies and others, I'd highly recommend this for an introduction to the world of Motorpsycho. I promise you that it will change your entire conception of music.