MOTU – The Water Is High

MOTU 2023

Subtitled “Songs of Love, Lies, and Freedom” and spreading this message around, American artist’s umpteenth record makes our existence better.

The Water Is High

Despite having almost a dozen albums under his belt and quite a few accolades, including Billboard Awards, collected over a couple decades, Dr. Rich Michelson, also known as Music Of The Universe, is far from being a household name – possibly due to a homespun aspect of his pieces which most listeners are loath to admit they like. Not that there’s a lot of rustic elements in the good doctor’s ensemble arrangements; it’s more of country comfort that come across as riveting threads to bind an attentive ear to what’s going on behind the tunes here. Of course, such sentiments feel fueled by familial liaisons, Richard sharing vocal lines with wife Dee, yet the record’s universal vibe makes “The Water Is High” highly relatable, and for every deceptively highfalutin turn on display – the compassionate “Can We All Rise Above?” may seem pretentious, indeed – MOTU will offer an intimate moment, deliberately leaving the tender balladry of “I’ll Fly Away” almost until the end.

This is why, while it’s Rich’s astounding way with stringed instruments that’s in the platter’s fluttering heart, Dee’s sultry voice and his filigreed licks go together to fill the ether with old-timey warmth from the start, once “I’m Just Here Playin’ In This Band” swings with a powerful gusto to suggest the group’s tongue-in-cheek approach to any patinated idiom, the title track’s raw, if harmonica-smeared, blues included. But then there’s the gripping jive of “Are You The Man I’ve Been Waiting For?” and guitar-and-mandolin rave of the instrumental “Lovely Day For A Moon Walk” where Bob Rush’s ivories drive the swagger towards cathartic pleasures, one of those being “Don’t You Worry, It’s Gonna Be Alright” whose encouraging stomp and swirl are punctuated by Ed Modzel’s drums. However, the dry finale of “Walk With Me For One More Mile” packs a punch in terms of welcoming hope.

That’s the place of ultimate freedom, and having MOTU to guide us there is nice.


May 14, 2023

Category(s): Reviews
Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *