Motorcycle Display Team is a trio that had ventured across Europe live many times, sharing a clarion call to the perils of the status quo via churning, masticating power chords, twisting, debonair rhythms, and sweetly sung sneered and snarled vocals deliver wickedly charming, insouciant lyrics. Best described as “Arch Rock” it merges the best of hard-edged anthems with unexpected, adventurous thrills.
After releasing a bevy of EPs and albums for the past several years, the 10 new songs on album WEREMAN address being pissed off at the shoddy state of democracy in the United Kingdom and the United States, with the former being dragged out of the EU for no benefit; it ingeniously attacks the deterioration of polite discourse in our mutual current cultures.
Lead singer Steve Hinds evokes many of the best ranters from classically expressive bands with a firebrand message entwining gutter and the best of glam, abed a crisp flow of melodic hooks and turbulent grooves from drummer Morgan Condon and bass from Matthew Eyre, along with Drew Thompson. Throughout, MDT focally bases its sound on Condon’s speeding engine-like drums, with the vocals and guitar/bass jostling and toggling around the top in formation.
The title “WEREMAN” is described by the band as a “savage beast that only reveals its humanity once a month. An atavistic creature that plays an outsize role in our current social and political narrative.”
Hinds is from Bletchley via Catford, SE London, adding guitars, kazoo and piano; Dublin to Southend-on-Sea’s Condon also assists vocally; and Eyre is from New Zealand by Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The album also features the trumpet of Thomas Risley.
Produced by David Holmes, WEREMAN was recorded by the band at Lightship 95 Studio on a lighthouse boat on the river Thames. Holmes also contributed guitars and synths to the full-length.
They are their own niche of epic gnarly whip-smart rock, and it’s a very welcome one. Starting with the guitar jaunt of 2009’s The Crayon Masterpiece EP, following with debut LP Captatio Benevolentiae (2012); getting harder through 2015’s Letters of Last Resort EP, and blossoming even further with the prog-infused Yours Probably the year before the pandemic. Many frantic live shows filled with antics to match their amygdala-prickling songs matched their growing fanbase of fellow people thirsty for something original and authentic.
Highlights of the album include the fast and funky confrontation “Armchair Politician,” about those who feel they already know all the right answers so feel comfortable making big decisions for everyone; the bass-sinuous “Trying to Save the World With A Song,” regarding the hubris of topical troubadours who think they can change things through mere music; and the tight grit and atomic stomp of “Mexicans,” addressing the hypocrisy of American Southern Border policy and the bitter betrayal of the Western gig economy.
MDT admits that not playing out for two years has made them keen on getting back out on the road this year to showcase these and the other news songs ASAP.