The Motel Life - Those Bruises
Record Label: Self-released via Kickstarter
Release Date: July 24, 2012
The Motel Life are a California quintet that plays pensive, moody indie-rock not unlike Manchester Orchestra. The band was even a member of the illustrious Absolute 100 in 2010. Those Bruises is the follow up to their oft-overlooked 2010 sophomore release Retreat. On the whole, the EP is promising, but not earth shattering.
Opener "House," begins hushed and cerebral before segueing into a stadium-ready wall of sound. The glimmering "Doctor's Note," opens with pronounced drumming, clattering guitars and vocalist Michael Escanuela's reedy croon. While it is probably the EP's most forgettable track, there is still something attractive about each passing minute. The heartfelt and tender "Those Bruises," mixes thunderous drums and clattering guitars to make for a concussive and memorable listen, while the teetering "Just Leave," rattles off a tale about self-defeat.
But the EP's best two tracks are the hushed closer "Cold Hands," a 5-minute slow-burner that finds the band at their best. Employing restraint and delicacy, there's something rewarding and indelible at work here. Equally as stirring, if not more so is the blunt "Lying About My Age," which begins as a mid-tempo meditation on the pangs of romance and evolves into a howling, take-no-prisoners throttler.
The fact of the matter is this: The Motel Life are a good band that makes good music. But that's really all one can say about the band for now. If they truly want to set themselves apart from the rest of the Los Angeles indie scene and make a serious dent, they are going to have to craft albums far stronger, far tighter and far more sonically rewarding than Those Bruises. They have the talent and skill to do so, it's just a matter of time before they figure it out.