Album Review by Preston Dildine
Album Art by Ayla Carroll and Motel Faces, Photo by Side B Media
I feel very honored to have been sent this album for review. This has been one of the most fun listening experiences I have had thus far. I will admit, I was banging my head along to much of it. Motel Faces is an indie rock and roll band based out of Cincinnati, OH. The band members include Nick Liston, John Harper, Matt Jackets, and Kyle Stone. Individually, I would assume all outstanding men, but together, they create a sound very reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Rolling Stones, all of whom they admit are big influences. Their newest album, “Never Die Young”, is a rock concert in your head, and I cannot wait to experience it again while writing this.
The opening track, “Moving Along”, gives you no hesitation or gentle push. It charges right in with a supercharged guitar and percussion beat that gets you amped from point one. “Where do I go from here now, oh when I’m trying to be where you are?” Just as the title states, we are indeed moving along, and the lyrics give us a sense of urgency and longing. The vocals are pure and full of emotion. The perfect way to begin a rock and roll adventure. Let’s see where we go from here.
If you thought perhaps we would slow down with the second track, you thought wrong. The adrenaline is pushed to the next notch. “Better Off” is a fantastic example of a rock ballad; smooth, but with an edge, shown in the vocals and matched with the guitar. The backup vocals give it a nice balance and soar. “Gonna be better than I was.” This might be my new theme song.
“Red Handed” is the title of our next track. I wonder if we’ve stolen something, or had something stolen from us. Perhaps our heart? The hard rock has returned as the guitar riffs pick back up, and our percussionist lays into those drums. “I know that you were messin’ around.” Yep, we were right. This is an angry ballad, and it works flawlessly. You can feel the emotion, not only in the vocals, but in the playing of the instruments. Everything in this song is punched, and punched hard. A very screeching and almost hard to listen to interlude awaits us in the middle of the song. I say almost, because it sits perfectly in our heads, almost like that whine we hear in our heads when our blood pressure rises. This leads straight into some very impressive guitar riffs. I don’t know about you, but I’m adding this to my anti-love playlist.
Alright, we have a pounding beat on the drums. Almost like our blood pounding, followed by some very straightforward guitar riffs. This track is called “I Know You Hate Me”. If we were ever going to “slow down” in this album, this would be the track. The beat is still fast, but the drive has slowed, making this song very much a statement. The band wants the listener to pay very close attention to the lyrics here, as opposed to the music. And the lyrics are very deep and meaningful. I will not post any here, because I, and I believe I speak for the band as well, want you to experience this track firsthand.
“Make Me Proud” is up next. This track is very bouncy, in as much as rock and roll can be bouncy, versus driven and hardcore. And we soon realize why. “Shake it baby, shake it good, Shake it like you know you should.” After all of the heartbreak of previous tracks, we have found a new babe to admire. This track is pure fun.
“That’s the Final Word” is up next…but it can’t be, because we have two songs to go afterwards. This track has a very “Don’t Fear the Reaper” vibe, mixed with something else…but I can’t place what. There’s an almost melancholy feeling to this track, but not negative per se. “I’m better now than you will ever be.” Wow. I have an ex or two that I would love to say that to. This is an interesting track, because it is at the same time melancholy and uplifting. And I am here for it. This is one of my favorite tracks in the album.
We have reached the title number. “Never Die Young”. This is one of the smoothest tracks in the album. It plays out like butter, or a lazy summer day. The instrumentation is easygoing while still retaining its rock edge. It is reminiscent of my teenage summers, driving out with my friends, hanging out, riding in the back of the truck (before it was illegal…or maybe after it was, and we just didn’t care). The track picks up the beat halfway through, and gives us a nice party vibe. It sort of sets the tone for the end of the album.
Being the title number did not, however, deem “Never Die Young” the final number. That spot is reserved for the slow jam that we have been waiting for, “Just A Few Miles”. It sounds likes we are returning home after our crazy rock-fueled adventure. We have given up electric for an acoustic guitar sound. This is one of the best homecoming songs I have ever heard. Light rock, perhaps with a slight twang to it, but not enough to countrify it. It holds its rock sound to the very last.
I am so glad to have heard this album. As I mentioned before, I head banged throughout this album multiple times, and have added this to my daily listening. As should you. If you are a rock and roll fan, this is absolutely the album for you. One hundred percent. Make sure you go purchase this album right now, and check out the band on Facebook, or at one of their many tour stops! It will be well worth the trip.