The band with the radio-friendly name returns with their tenth studio album in their fifteen year existence. Essentially reduced to founder Tom Greenwood and an assortment of Portland, Oregon neighbors and fellow musicians of which guitarist Honey Owens (Valet, Nudge) is the most prominent, Ballads of The Revolution opens pastorally with Greenwood’s laidback delivery weaving around Lewi Longmire’s weeping pedal steel. Experimentation was always the Motherfuckers’ strong suit, and “Dark Falcon” won’t disappoint. It’s an aural pastiche based around an improv of a track by The Lucky Dragons and features the twangy, dreamy, heavily treated vocals of Honey Owens reading the liner notes off an old Mamas & Papas LP. Weird doesn’t begin to describe it. Side one ends with the studio version of the live set staple, “Skylight,” all glistening guitars, molasses-paced psychedelic backing, droning vocals… think Bardo Pond without all the sludgehammer (sic) accoutrements that hopelessly bury all their arrangements.
The latter half of the album stumbles through their typical improvisational workouts, which can be extraordinary or room-clearing, sometimes in the same song. Skip over “The Corner” and head straight for the krautrockin’ motorific backbeat of “The Cryin’ Sea,” which began life onstage during a gig in Arhus, Denmark. Shards of white noise guitar courtesy Nick Bindeman run roughshod across a screaming fuzz-induced nervous breakdown from special guest Michael Dustdevil and deliver a manic whoosh of headswirling giddiness that’ll surely have all the Warlocks, Spacemen 3, and Brian Jonestown Massacre fans wiping the crust out of their ears and sitting up to take notice. “A Mania” is a tender, comedown ballad featuring interwoven guitar lines from Joanne Robertson and fuzzmeister, Honey Owens that ends the evening in the bottom of a comfy chair. 7/10 -- Jeff Penczak (12 August, 2009)