Motown Blood – Lady Rock and Roll’s Gentlemen Callers

With its full-length debut, “Lady Rock and Roll’s Gentlemen Callers,” Oklahoma City trio Motown Blood establishes a name for itself as the band that sounds like … that one band.

The 13-track CD stays true to its creators’ namesake, keeping with call-and-response singing and the guitar- and drum-driven antics of ’50s Motown classics. But what the band’ namely, guitarist, lead singer and sole songwriter Chris Barrett’ fails to accomplish is a sound unique from that of its well-worn influences.

The first beats and chords of “My Good Side” are essentially the intro to The Romantics’ “What I Like About You,” and while Barrett did replace the Detroit icon’s infamous “uh-huh” with a more articulate “all right,” the effect is, shockingly, largely the same. Throw in a melody that could be a twin of The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout,” you’ve got a wunderkind cover band.
What Motown Blood lacks in originality, it makes up for with an amazing ability to repeat numerous three- and four-word phrases.

By the penultimate “Down by the Water,” the musical tank is running out of gas. The not-quite-two-minute track opens with a chanting repetition of the title phrase, trips to a cheery, rhyming bridge, and cuts to a snappy guitar solo before it retreats again to the iteration of its title. Repeat times three.

While Motown Blood brings in some vaguely imaginative flair on “Only a Bitch” and “She Thinks She’s Lucky,” the overall aftertaste of the trio’s inaugural effort is that of week-old cake: aesthetically appealing, yet tritely stale when dished.

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