The Motorleague, throughout their 15-year history, have worn a lot of hats. From their origins in Eastern Canada’s sweaty all-ages halls and damp punk clubs, to radio-rock arena shows, and everything in between, The Motorleague are certainly running out of new hats to wear. But through their sporadic release history since 2009’s Black Noise – you can hear the sound of a band finding its true self, and their newest single “New Commandments” finds itself in spades.
Produced by Toronto’s Eric Ratz, “New Commandments” is The Motorleague hitting their most dialed-back sound yet. Leading off with a falsetto round of haunting “ooohs”, it could be mistaken for another band. Once the chorus beckons “Damn salvation for I’ve been so wicked” however, you immediately place the unmistakable grit and growl that has been 15 years in the making. With a ghost-like lamenting sadness, the song feels like it comes from Canada’s Eastern shores. Like the natural evolution of so much of Nova Scotia & New Brunswick’s musical heritage, “New Commandments” doesn’t shy away from sounding like it’s geographical home.
“It’s just a song about the way our regret changes as we get older” says Don Levandier, the band’s principal lyricist and vocalist. “It’s like we do all this harm in our youth then feel it like clockwork once we hit a certain age” – and if regret had a chord progression, he’s certainly found it. The sadness however rejoices in its final refrain, dropping the minor drone for the major lift. Leaving us with the last thought – You’re fighting to live or you’re living for fighting – You sleep half your life, so you’ll die in your sleep.
Since their first cross-Canada journey in 2010, The Motorleague have been a regular name in Canada’s touring circuit, on festivals and venues from Victoria to St. John’s. With the advent of post-isolation however, the band has been stoically learning and crafting, although you’d never know from their quiet statuses. Like so many others, the band is re-learning what it means to be a band and what that might look like moving forward. “It’s been a time for a lot of us to reinvent.” Says Levandier. “to acknowledge the past, leave it there, then do it better”
Just as the song leaves things on an open note – a fork in the road for what comes next - so does the band find itself in a liberating period of renewal… asking with equal parts forlorn and excitedness, where do we go from here?