By Emmett Florence
Graced with colorful undersea album art, the wryly titled Ocean Toaster EP is the first EP released by Provo soul/pop 8-piece sensation Motion Coaster, and is the follow-up to their debut single “Take The Seasons.” Self produced by band frontman Dee Kei Waddell, Ocean Toaster has an energetic, upbeat, raw sound that captures the magic of Motion Coaster’s show-stopping live performances. Crowning the clever songwriting and deliciously funky instrumentals are Waddell’s astounding lead vocals, that could one day come to rival the voices of male pop divas Bruno Mars or Sam Smith.
Kicking off the four track release is “Blues,” a groove-heavy romp with similar vibes to the early music of Provo music scene kings The Strike. The band wastes no time showing off their range of instrumental expression, and uses the opening song to showcase each individual player – from the sizzling brass section to the guitars and keys. The delectable organ solo is especially memorable, washing listeners in waves of funky bliss.
The musical voyage continues with “Weather,” a feel-good romantic ballad as sweet and temperamental as budding romance itself, woven together with smooth brass lines and accented with angst-infused band hits. The track is full of surprises, including an old-school stomp-clap breakdown (with group vocals from the band) and a guest performance from Provo hip-hop heavy hitter Mimi Knowles.
Track three is “Another You,” a feverish jam exploring the romantic paradox of replacing the irreplaceable lover. The song instantly hooks its listeners and reals them along with infectious guitar hooks, crashing drums, booming brass (and how about that scrumptious saxophone solo?) all the way to its frenzied climax. As always, soaring above the surging instrumentals are Waddell’s powerful and ultra expressive lead vocals.
Last in the lineup is “Letters,” a dreamy downtempo profession of God’s love that is wonderfully heartfelt. The song’s lyrics reference the experiences of members of the band and their friends as they served missions for the LDS church in far away places like Japan. For the first time on the EP, Waddell indulges in vocal layering and other effects, and the result is breathtakingly beautiful. While perhaps sweet to the point of saccharine at times, the song should be given credit for going against the current and tackling the immense songwriting challenge of sharing a positive message of faith in a refreshing and relevant way.
If the Ocean Toaster EP has any room for improvement, it might be the overall rawness of its sound. From a production standpoint, the EP stays rigorously true to Motion Coaster’s live sound, almost to a fault at times, sonically resembling a very well done live recording rather than a real studio effort. Indulging in more of the production magic of “Letters” with future releases, especially to amplify and showcase Waddell’s world-class vocal talent, could have huge payoffs for the band’s sound.
We look forward with eager anticipation to hearing what material these guys surface with next! In the meantime, we can only speculate future EP titles: “Lotion Boaster” or maybe “Potion Roaster?” Only time will tell!
Head over to Facebook to give their page a like and check out Ocean Toaster below.