Jim Wilson & friends take a trip back in time to reinvent the glorious sound of Mother Superior.
When you are Scott Ian, guitarist and leader of one of the Big Four, it must take something pretty special to make you form what is essentially a tribute band. The Anthrax man has dipped his toes into supergroup terroritory before with superb results, namely The Damned Things which featured members of the less great Fall Out Boy.
This time Scott has joined forces for his latest hard rock adventure with one of his heroes, Mother Superior frontman guitarist Jim Wilson, to re-record some of the band’s best tracks from their prolific but relatively short career. He is joined by his wife, vocalist Pearl Aday, uber-drummer John Tempesta and bassist Joey Vera (Armored Saint/Fates Warning).
The story of how this all came about his now well-known, Ian wanted to play some Mother Superior tracks at his 50th birthday and from there we now have Motor Sister, but what could fans of Mother Superior expect? Would they be faithful re-creations of their favourite tracks or completely new interpretations?
Album opener “A Hole” spells out there intentions straight from the off. It’s a beefed-up, full throttle, where necessary, take on some underrated classics of 1990’s rock. Mother Superior spent some of the new millennium as backing band for former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins in his Rollins Band outfit. It’s not difficult to see why Hank would have chosen them as it fits his style perfectly. In fact you easily imagine the Rollins voice on the majority of the album tracks. That said Jim’s voice is nothing less that powerful in his own right and when he is joined by Aday it takes the music to another level.
For those not familiar with the original band or the music then you may best hard rockin’ blues-infused riffing of the highest order, with some fine songwriting to match. “Beg Borrow Steal” typifies the swinging groove-laden feel that first set Scott’s metal heart a-flutter. “Head Hanging Low” has a strolling country feel to it which would be perfect driving through L.A. on summer night. “Fork In The Road” is a classic for those who were wise first-time around and is treated with due reverence and respect here.
Tracks like “Fool Around” and “Devil Wind” provide a more laid-back approach which works well when taken in context of the album as a whole. Although none of these tracks are particularly outstanding on their own they do show the breadth of ability and quality that Mother Superior had. They had many strings to their bow and impossible to showcase it all within twelve tracks but they give it a damn good go.
Remarkably this album only took two days to record, proving that spending months and months pontificating over the slightest element in your sound is ultimately time wasted. For that classic rock n roll energy and sound you need to capture it live and quickly.
Mother Superior had that 1970’s Rolling Stones carefree attitude and spirit to their music and that has been perfectly replicated and reinvigorated with Motor Sister. After all, it’s only rock n’ roll………but we like it. A lot.
Donnie’s Rating 8.5/10