Motel Beds call to mind a simpler time when rock music was rock music, before there were subgenres and offshoots. A time when punk was still a few years distant and metal was still an experimental prototype in the gleaming eyes of mad guitar-scientists. The opening track, “Smoke Your Homework,” is a fast and punchy track, establishing the tone of the album. It’s a warm, fuzzy tone, both in the band’s riffs, and in the overall recorded sound. That warm, fuzzy tone was good, but I found it permeated every track to the point that it almost washed out the sound of the record, leaving little memorable left to stand out. Where Motel Beds do change things up slightly, is with a break from straight-forward rocking in favor of ballad-esque jams like “Running for Nothing.” While these are a slight change of pace, they aren’t so different from the rest of the band’s sound to shake the listener up, and, if anything, I found tracks like this less interesting than their straight-ahead rock counterparts on the album. The Motel Beds are a retro-rock band, for lack of a better term. While good at capturing the feelings of bygone days with their sound, I didn’t find much on here to make me excited for this sound in 2013. While there are certainly fans of this retro-rock sound out there, it takes pretty exceptional songwriting for bands like this to do something for me, and I didn’t find enough going on here to hold my interest.
–Paul J. Comeau (No More Fake Labels)