The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

The Motet brews funky grooves on 'Death or Devotion'

Associated Press Thursday, 7 March 2019, 12:01 Last update: about 4 months ago

The Motet, "Death or Devotion" (The Motet)

Unsuspecting listeners may stumble into "Death or Devotion" and, based on first impressions, figure that it's a lost funk/soul gem from the late 1970s. They may even guess The Motet is a band whose only album — maybe long out-of-print or even hardly ever in-print — was discovered by a crate-digging DJ in a basement record store in Brooklyn or Los Angeles.


In fact, The Motet is a Denver-based septet that's been around for nearly two decades and "Death or Devotion" is the band's ninth studio album. It is a funk/soul gem, but luckily it's not at all lost.

Already on lead track "Highly Compatible," The Motet's intentions are clear. Strings, horn accents, vintage keyboard sounds, funky bass grooves and Lyle Divinsky's vocals are all at the service of a smooth flow that's dancefloor ready and a fun listen to boot.

The album's first single, "Whacha Gonna Bring," besides conveying a message of tolerance and understanding, was tied to efforts to sign up voters for last year's mid-term election. While the album's title isn't directly mentioned in the single's lyrics, the song attempts to inspire some reflection and make us more conscious about the choices we make and the attitudes we assume.

There's a lot of positivity in the songs, plenty of passion — both idealist and sensual — and it all comes full circle with the nearly instrumental "Speed of Light," which sounds like a Rick James riff done like Daft Punk where even the usually overused vocoder fits the bill.

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