Death Or Devotion, The Motet’s ninth album, showcases the band’s reverence for the funk tradition through masterful execution of the style. Each track exudes booty-shaking energy, thanks to airtight grooves from the rhythm section, crisp but nasty horn lines, and soulful vocals.
The needle drops into a disco feel on “Highly Compatible,” whose string arrangements are reminiscent of the symphonic soul of the 70’s, while soaring vocal harmonies on the chorus draw from those of Earth, Wind & Fire.
In “Whacha Gonna Bring,” the official song of HeadCount’s “Get Out The Vote” campaign, lead singer Lyle Divinsky encourages listeners to love those around them and to make the world a better place.
The title track is a more laid back tune that boasts Stevie Wonder-like harmony and features the band’s newest member, Parris Fleming, on trumpet.
“That Dream” and “Get It Right” follow, featuring Drew Sayers on sax and Joey Porter on B3 organ on the former, with an upbeat extended vamp in the latter that draws one’s ears to Porter’s rhythmic Clavichord comping, Ryan Jalbert’s channeling of David Williams on guitar, and Garrett Sayers’s thumping bass lines.
An expected instrumental jam, “Kneebone,” appropriately comes seventh, as it alternates between 7/8 and 7/4 time signatures, with drummer Dave Watts holding down the challenging groove; proof that The Motet reside in the big leagues.
“Supernova” brings back strings for what could be a modern day MJ/Quincy Jones collaboration. “Contagious” features more Stevie-esque clav, killer horn lines, and a lyrical hook that many Coloradans can relate to. “Speed Of Light” closes out the album with a space-like atmosphere, similar to those made by their friends in Lettuce.