Monday, September 16, 2013

The Motels - Little Robbers

Today (September 16th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Little Robbers, the fourth studio album from the Motels. Following their 1982 album All For One (click here for that review), this 1983 record reached number 34 in Australia and number 22 on the US Billboard Album chart.

Side one opens with the question “Where Do We Go From Here (Nothing Sacred)”. This song about a relationship at a crossroads features a driving beat from drummer Brian Glascock and an exotic synth line. I really like the guitar riffs from Guy Perry too, and how they play off the keyboards of Marty Jourard.

“Suddenly Last Summer”, the first single, hit number 34 in Australia, number 28 in New Zealand, number 18 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 11 in Canada, number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. This one has always brought out those wistful feelings when I hear it, reminding me of things in my life that are gone but never forgotten. I have always liked the bridge, which tumbles down musically.

“Isle of You” is a perfect play on words as it sounds just like “I love you”. Backed by a reggae-like rhythm, this one is all about running away from feelings that hurt too much to experience.

“Trust Me” kicks down the door with a pedal-to-the-metal rocker that would be great for a road trip mix. Jourard lays down a powerful saxophone solo too.

“Monday Shutdown” closes out a strong first side with a danceable groove featuring the bass of Michael Goodroe. The typewriter and jackhammer sounds really add to this work-week blues tune.

Side two begins with “Remember the Nights”. As the second single, this reflective rocker went to number 36 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 12 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. I have always been a fan of Martha Davis’ eternal emotionally exquisite vocals.

“Little Robbers”, while not a single, scored number 18 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. This bouncy tune captures the cautious attitude of those who live in a big, bustling city.

“Into the Heartland” is up next. Davis co-wrote the tune with Bernie Taupin.

“Tables Turned” starts to wind things down with a song about taking action in struggling relationship.

The band goes back to the reggae flavor for the final track “Footsteps”, which was released as a single in Holland only in early 1984.

Little Robbers saw its release on CD in 1997 and again in 2012 with a remastered version (in a vinyl sized package). Even though a few of the tracks appear on some compilations, it has yet to have a full digital release.

I did not own this one back in the day, even though I did enjoy the Motels sound. Listening to it from start to finish (thanks to YouTube postings) for this review, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The first half is very strong and side two starts off well also.

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