You’re got to admire bands like Motion Device that have worked their way up from the bottom of the ladder. This Canadian band started by posting covers of classic songs on YouTube. They were teenagers at the time – or pre-teenage as in the case of singer Sara Menoudakis who dressed up as Ozzy and sang War Pigs at age ten (yes, check it out on YouTube; it looks as bizarre as it sounds!). Sara made it to eleven years old when their cover of Sabbath’s Heaven And Hell went viral on the Internet. This social media attention allowed the band to eventually release a crowd-funded debut album in 2014. This new release is (you guessed it) their fourth album and as well as being crowd-funded, was recorded and produced by the band themselves in their crowd-funded studio!
So, how is Sara doing as she reaches adult age? First off, her “old” band is still with her. That’s not surprising really since it is very much a family affair with sister Andrea on bass and keyboards, brother David on drums, and cousin Josh Marrocco on guitars. Musically, the band have not forgotten those heavy rock roots but there is a strong alternative and gothic metal thread through the album. To these ears, they sound closer to Evanescence than mainstream heavy rock bands.
The first single off the album, Blindfold It Away, is a good showcase for the band with its moody verse and progressive metal riff. Other tracks in the same vein include Warped which has a grinding Sabbath-like riff and the upbeat and bluesy High Road. Tracks such as Unmonsterme and Mary-Anne drift more towards an art-rock sound and additional variety is provided by the unexpected 80’s style power balled Here4You. My favourite track on the album is the ballad Bleeding Inside. It has a gorgeous melody sung in mostly quiet tones by Sara over just piano. It’s an excellent song that highlights the quality and subtlety Sara can bring to her vocal delivery – which elsewhere is less evident as her voice tends to be pushed to its limit just to be heard.
For me this is the sort of music that works best on a typical vinyl length of forty-five minutes consisting of eight to ten pieces. Motion Device IV has sixteen tracks spanning an hour and a quarter. While there isn’t any real filler material here, I’m not convinced of the wisdom of stretching the album out to this length. Despite this minor gripe, it’s still a very creditable effort from the band. And of course they are still young so it will be interesting to see in which direction they develop in future.