Motel La Grange

The National Reserve

Ramseur Records, 2018

http://www.thenationalreserve.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/13/2018

Sometimes, after hearing a really vital album, I feel ashamed to say it's a band I've completely ignored despite knowing full well about their entire existence. I've had this unfortunate experience with Murder By Death, Soul Asylum, Against Me!, and now Brooklyn's The National Reserve.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

After two years of residency gigs in their home borough, Motel La Grange comes at a time when the band has shaped their craft into a sound that's honky tonk, R&B, and soulful while still being raw rock ‘n’ roll at heart.

The album starts off perfectly with the gritty Americana of “No More,” which sounds like a collision of The Replacements and Lucero where guitar solos and a Wurlitzer add to the barely contained energy. “Big Bright Light” follows and settle closer to country rock with breezy melodies, while “Found Me A Woman” brings in keys and a blues feel to a rugged tune with pianos.

The listen brings more greatness in the middle with the Southern influenced and soulful slide guitars of “Don't Be Unkind,” where Sean Walsh's raspy vocals really shine, the bright and blustery “Other Side Of Love,” and the album highlight, “Standing On The Corner,” which finds two guitars and a firm groove  punctuating the strong songwriting. 

Motel La Grange ends on the gritty and pretty “New Love,” the warm balladry of the title track, and the exciting bar rocker “I'll Go Blind.” “Roll On Babe” ends this second album with Laurel Canyon influences that meet folksy harmonies in the best ways possible.

Reportedly, this album took six years to make, and the strong attention to detail and incredible lasting power sure seems like it. A real life success story of a bar band gone on to make a nearly perfect album, Motel La Grange is an absolute must for all fans of roots rock, Americana, and '70s sounding rock ‘n’ roll.

Rating: A-

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