Steve Noble: drums; John Edwards: double bass; Alex Ward: electric guitar
Guess there’s no demand for an explanation of the trio’s acronym. As an alternative, let’s talk about “reluctance”. As soon as the first grooves of “Betting On Now” are probed by the needle one feels like removing that word from the dictionary right away, as we’re greeted by a veritable assault and battery in its acoustic variant. But not by club-brandishing hoodlums; no, the treatment appears as if delivered by a squad of relatively cultivated junior middleweights inclined to hitting incessantly and precisely until the breadbasket regurgitates mincemeat. It won’t be that way for the whole duration, though. As unforgiving as it may be, the overall sound emitted by N.E.W. is also made of calmer, if ever tense slices where – just to make sure – there is no chance of envisioning bright skies and palm trees. Think instead “apprehensively waiting for someone wishing to lubricate mechanisms whose level of corrosion causes sparks every time they’re set in motion” – pun not intended – before the fibrous chug finally takes over, even via fierce ternary meters (“Tall & True”).
Definitely belonging among the hardest rockers in the free improvisation area of today, the cruel-hearted players show their best as they launch entrancingly robust bodybuilder-drums-cum-whacked-bass patterns maintained for long, ceasing to burn sugars abruptly only to look at the procedure’s leftovers scattered around, additional unresolving symptoms ready to be semi-coherently glued. Episodic power chords by Ward’s saturated guitar burst into hundreds of screechy shards, raising blisters containing vitriolic liquids. In this kind of attire, Noble and Edwards could work wonders as the rhythm section – swinging included – for some evolved punk group. On the other hand, aren’t these guys a punk group already? The underlying technique might be superior, however the vibe is not that distant (except perhaps for the title track, occasionally bordering with Last Exit County in between – a-hem – pensive sections). Ultimately, if you end up listening to Motion several times without settling on a real descriptive arrangement for its interfusion of buzzing racket and compulsive thumping imbued with experience and skill, the answer is necessarily a classic, utterly Niblockian “it is what it is”. The core of this succinct dissertation being: it works.