Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: Motel Pines - A Sad History

    Got “turnt” onto this band by Brad Posey, host/curator/creator of THE INVISIBLE CITY on 89.3 WLRH out of Huntsville, Alabama, and all-around swell guy (when he isn’t using thousands of people as test subjects for his droning experiments-choice emoji goes here, lol). He baited me by using The Replacements as an adjective to describe the lyrical style of this band, and I’m a sucker for anything Paul Westerberg connected. You could tell me a porta potty at a BBQ competition in the dead of a southern summer reminded you of “Tim” and I’d be there waiting for another spiritual awakening. But these dudes are from Dallas, so there may not be such a large degree of separation between plastic crap coffins and our favorite intermittently-sober subconsciously self-sabotaging lore-infused underground rock 'n' roll religious figures after all.
    This is a pissed off record. It’s sarcastic. It’s wounded, and it’s mad as hell and isn’t gonna take it anymore. But it kind of reminds you of the guy that suddenly loses his shit and balls his fists up and sprays saliva through his teeth, and stomps his feet, and curses in tongues. You know it’s something serious, but it usually comes out of nowhere, so it takes a few seconds to process the “spell” as Memaw might say. In other words, it isn’t like a traditional punk rock or metal record, or Public Enemy, or of that particular ilk. It simmers below the surface, boiling under like a volcano of left-wing, humanitarian angst. Songs like “Champagne Rivers” serves as an auditory brochure for a worse-case scenario for this new “great” America: Here’s this 1st world utopia, with this huge monument donated by a foreign country that is a symbol of freedom and democracy and has a poem on a plaque encouraging other nations of the world to “give us your tired, your poor huddled masses” and is often touted as THE land of opportunity... unless you’re a few shades browner than Barney the brake rotor line worker. “The Heart and the Head” follows along a similar thought path, but seems to question Big Brother's supposedly good intentions. Move along, go back to sleep, nothing to see here. (Cue scenes from “They Live” here.) “My Abandoned Ship” is a heartfelt homage to being emotionally rescued, presumably by the birth of a child, as the last line of the last verse proclaims “although I am your world now, I am no one at all.” But to that child, you’re everything. Closing out the record with more disjointed congruency (IT’S A THING.) with an earlier juncture of the record is “Best Parts Of Me” which is a narrative describing losing a partner/loved one to an unnamed disease and feeling like the best parts of you have been taken away, only to find them returned by the introduction of a new life into the picture. Despite all this weighty subject matter, this record is still suitable for casual listening: no need to be seeking any sort of cataclysmic catharsis for it to work its magic on ya.

-Jackson A.D.

The Motel Pines on Bandcamp

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