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February 2024
Vol. 23, No. 5

CD Reviews

Tyson Motsenbocker: Until It Lands

by Frank KocherJune 2011

Formerly guitarist/singer with a band called Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful in the open country of Spokane, Tyson Motsenbocker’s music was described as ‘lyrically driven folk music.’ He is now in Solana Beach, and his latest music has been beefed up by cohort and drummer Bumper Dorman (Janu and the Whalesharks).

On his six-track debut EP, Until It Lands, Motsenbocker’s innocuous vocals tell of Northwest things like snow, stormy nights, and the Grand Cooley Dam. The arrangement on ‘Empty 25’ is sort of Coldplay Lite, as he sings an interesting melody that clicks, on top of a cushion of echoing, layered guitars. It’s just him and guitar for ‘Always Leaving You Behind,’ sliding up singing falsetto ‘you’s, but the tune seems to be missing a hook. Until it Lands starts off quietly, with interesting lyrics (not provided, a shame), and builds. Overly busy drums (Dorman) during the last verse detract as they sound like a drum solo in the background while he sings the words. The best song is ‘Until It Lands: Part II,’ a full band again backs Motsenbocker as he recalls travels and life experiences to the most catchy soft rock riff on the disc; the guitars, song structure, and vocal all recall early REM. ‘Lie Down and Die’ goes back to the ‘Empty 25’ formula, with a quiet melody vocal intro with falsetto touches, buildup, and slickly layered final verse.

Until It Lands is easy on the ears, with strong tracks in ‘Empty 25’ and ‘Until It Lands: Part II.’ It is certainly worth a listen.

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