The latest Savoy Motel LP has been fermenting in the background of 2020, threatening to break at any moment. With a release date formally announced just a few weeks ago, following a steady stream of singles over the past few months, the band seeks to follow up the raw funk-soul strut that emanated from their eponymous 2016 LP. With a slightly augmented lineup, Love Your Face dives into some of the same indulgences from the debut, but tempers quite a few of their more tenacious impulses. The debut left its ends frayed, windmilling around pop and funk with a touch of the platformed freak of glam. As they ease the listener into Love Your Face, there’s a steady hand on the pop tiller. They’re smoothing out their rumples and pushing into a more polished sound that’s still sipping from the soul-funk chalice, but also moving towards ‘70s AM pop as well, letting shades of caramel country and power pop show through.
While the songs on Love Your Face don’t explode with the same tenacity as the debut — don’t let the smooth taste fool ya — Savoy Motel still has a bit of the street-whipped sweat seeping out of their skins. Grafting a greased shimmy that slides through the wake of Stevie Wonder to the spit shined pop of Raspberries and Status Quo, the album is still hard to pin down. I do miss a bit of the electric spit eclecticism of the debut, but the band finds plenty of new corners to explore and I can’t fault ‘em for not remaking the debut wholesale. Still consummate players, the Nashville band makes a case for exploring the itch of your influences and wriggling in between the crevices that exist in the pop lexicon.
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