Album Review: Labretta Suede And The Motel 6 - Dirty And Dumb

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By Barry Jenkin

Charlie Horse Records

Looking, rather gazing, at the album cover artwork, and artwork it is. Dirty & Dumb it says. Well we’re half way there. Let’s see about the dumb. I like dumb rock and roll, it’s always the best kind. Are you there Joey? Better put it on. Title track. Yep, now we have dumb with random guitar and a bucket of fuzz. Next, Very nice dirt from the band with a tongue in cheek vocal. Three’s a bit of a throwaway with a nod to the Ramones and scary yowling from Labretta. Track four is Thickened Sludge. Wonderful title for a song and it delivers exactly that but with a little more structure. If there’s anything approaching conventional about this album here it is.

Convention is usually deeply suspect as far as I’m concerned but You and Me is a lovely song. With a decent cutdown it could even be a radio hit and no, I’m not trying to be insulting here. The Suede delivers a controlled, on pitch, velvet vocal which works. She does, on other tracks have a tendency to let a note descend and decay at the end of a line which can become a pattern but not on this one.  Last on the A side is Itty Bit which is mostly punk flavoured, straight ahead rock n roll. Grinning a bit and growing on me. Turnover time.

    High Heeled Heartbreaker is a nudge between R&B and rockabilly with grungy overtones. That leads into Beach Party Town which is a party the B52s would be proud to attend, bringing Brian Wilson with them in a wheelchair. Not in a derivative way, it’s just that I’m an old feller and I’m allowed to be reminded of anything I like, and I like this party a lot. Next track is a little lost on me. ‘Fraid I don’t know what a Savis is but when your voice is as good as Labretta’s is I’m wondering why you’d use it for what is essentially talking blues. Pretty much applies to next in line All Girl Riot as well. Next track blows my own argument out of the water because she does exactly what I’m complaining about to good effect. Raw doomy poetry and I mean that in a good way. Again, It may have been more effective shorter.

I’m told there were a few hurdles getting this on vinyl and the production budget shows that a little but it was far more interesting than the music that was coming out in 2011. Mostly between then and now if anyone’s asking me. I could hear influences but they were all good ones. When you’re channelling The Cramps and MC5 you must be doing something right but if they were there they didn’t overshadow the originality. Overall, an original, challenging and enjoyable album, never mind the composition of its parts. The drumming is phenomenal, the lead pretty damn good and the voice can be anything it wants to be. You could do a lot worse than spend some time in Motel 6

4 / 5