Album Review
The Motel Life - Retreat Album Cover

The Motel Life - Retreat

Reviewed by
The Motel Life - Retreat
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: June 1, 2010
Lately I've been checking out unsigned bands a lot, and when I saw and read Chris Fallon's review of a band called The Motel Life, I instantly became curious about them. I went to their Myspace page and listened to the songs on their music player and was captivated by their music - captivated enough to write my own review of their fantastic new album Retreat. The band's lead vocalist, Michael Escanuelas, has a voice that's a mixture of that of popular frontmen William Beckett and Brendon Urie. It's simply fascinating, especially with the piano-driven indie rock sound The Motel Life has.

Retreat begins with ''Wooden Hands,'' a track that starts off with slow-paced piano playing and Escanuelas singing softly as the band's back up vocalists harmonize. The song builds up beautifully with the echoing guitars while the lead vocalist raises his voice as he hits every note spot on, keeping that laid back vibe throughout the track in the process. ''Falling Asleep'' follows it; it's a song that makes me feel like I'm listening to it on a warm summer evening. It also tends to resemble several of tracks on The Academy Is...'s first full length album Almost Here with its slow verses and picked up choruses, only with a more indie rock feel to it.

One of the many standout tracks of the album, ''Alva'' features a beautiful piano arrangement from the band and Escanuelas' flawless vocals. Let's face it - this song is absolutely remarkable. It's slow-paced and it keeps your attention like a mouse's eyes locked on a piece of a cheese placed in a mouse trap. The short and emotional acoustic track ''God Loves'' leads into ''Second Place,'' a song seemingly about people not supporting their love for music and wanting them to give up on it (luckily they didn't listen to them). The song is one of the more energetic tracks of the album, but still keeping that mid-tempo sound that they're great at doing.

A few songs later, ''No One Belongs Here More Than You'' appears. A wonderful ballad that builds up at the end, the song is about the importance of a person, possibly a girlfriend, friend, or a family member, and wanting them to stay strong as they go through struggles. ''Retreat'', the title track is the final song of the album begins with slow acoustic guitar picking and soon picks up as Escanuelas sings passionately and beautifully, letting out any and all emotion inside of him. The middle of the song features horns, pulling out all of the stops and making sure they go out with a bang on the album. The very end of the song has the band chanting "We are so far gone and we can't stop dreaming," which is the perfect way to end Retreat.

The Motel Life surely impressed the hell out of me and several others on this website. If they are able to grab the attention of the masses like they grabbed mine, people are in for a treat. Retreat is full of great indie rock tunes, and The Motel Life is what you need to be listening to right now. Once you turn it on, your ears will be graced by the beauty that is Retreat and you'll be hooked for life.

Recommended If You LikeAll the Day Holiday, Deas Vail, Minus the Bear, The Academy Is...'s Almost Here, overusing the word beautiful in it's different forms only because it's true

This review is a user submitted review from aradiantsunrise. You can see all of aradiantsunrise's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 4 of 4
08:00 PM on 06/14/10
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ALVA indeed is an amazing song!! <3
10:09 PM on 06/14/10
Life With People
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gjpinizz's Avatar
alva is definitely my favorite track so far. not sure if i like this better than we all left something behind though. it's a solid album though and it's growing every day
02:22 PM on 06/18/10
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SomedayTheFire's Avatar
Great album. Better than the ep imo. Alva is definitely my favourite.

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