Big Big World by Magnolia Motel is an EP of a mixture of roots and alternative rock with lots of energy and passion throughout.
The EP opens with “Old Apartment,” a bluesy roots rock song in the vein of The Band or Kings Of Leon. The drums and guitar are way upfront in the mix giving lots of energy to the song with crisp hi-hat hits. The organ is a little soft in the mix, but adds some nice swells when it’s present. The chorus is quite catchy, and the outro has some nice guitar work reminiscent of some ‘90s alternative rock. The song could be a bit more concise but the energy is certainly present throughout.
“Aztec Gold” is based around a funky rock synth riff. The lead vocal has some Anthony Kiedes influences in its speak-sung vibe but with some real grit. Halfway through the song, the band slows down to a sludgy early Soundgarden heavy riff that really sounds huge and digs into some great places. The transition back into the first section is a little rough but it is nice to hear the slide-y Jimmy Page guitars again.
The title track is a minor blues straight out of a smoky roadhouse. The backing vocals are a nice touch on this track in particular adding some nice subtle harmonies without ever distracting from the vibe. The breakdown is abrupt but it is nice to bring the bass and piano to the forefront for a moment and hear the triplet subdivision within the band.
The EP closes with Picasso, full of large synth pads, a great contrapuntal bass line, and lots of interesting drum work. Halfway through the introduction of a shaker gives some nice contrast to the timbre and the guitar tones sear through with raw electricity.
Overall, Magnolia Motel has lots going for them in their passion and energy. Some editing down of the songs, tightening up certain sections and making them a bit more concise might help some of those strengths shine even more.
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