Mike Montrey Band Releases Knockout Album
When it comes to crafting a modern Americana album, the formula has been stepped on so many times the original art form is almost unrecognizable. Americana as a genre is all but dead, with folk, country, and other less definable genres having stepped up to scrub it from its place, but for those willing to dig for it, nothing will ever scratch that Americana itch quite like a true Americana record, and Mike Montrey Band is one of the few bands still delivering on that very niche front. Their new record Searching For My Soul almost feels as if it should come with a map of America as its lyrics deeply detail everything there is to know about the dirt roads less traveled; it is a true testament to the lost art of Americana rock and reclaims the genre with a victory cry.
Searching For My Soul is a powerful album, even if only seven songs in length. At its core, there is a deep appreciation for storytelling through lyrics that the Mike Montrey Band are primed to do; songs like the opening track “I Can’t Wait Any Longer” describe an urge for intimacy, both mentally and physically, and use poetic prose to their advantage. There’s an underlying current of anxiety about not accomplishing the task, and the duality in the lyrics is impressive.
The world-building of the album is a similarly impressive task, as Montrey delves into a wealth of American cities through his lyrics — “So Long City of Angels” is the best example of this, and any Los Angeles natives will certainly get nostalgic hearing a wide variety of city landmarks detailed by name. Montrey’s attention to detail is immaculate, and in the end, that’s what allows Searching For My Soul to maintain a tight-knit sense of direction and theme.
There’s not a dud on the entire album, with softer offerings “Reno” and “Searching For The Sun” bringing a deeper sense of emotional depth to Searching For My Soul’s sequencing. There’s a deft quality to the way the songs fall in line with one another, as there’s never a lull period or a wasted moment. “Listen To Me Roar” gives listeners a final moment of upbeat, rollicking rock ’n’ roll that will undoubtedly transport listeners back to the era of Mellencamp’s classic “Jack & Diane.” The weightless production and twinkling guitar on top of a railroad-chugging drum beat mixed with some great vocal harmonies positions the track to be a knockout hit single, and allowing it to lead into the album’s final track, the aforementioned “Searching For The Sun,” is a brilliant decision as the mood resonates throughout the softer moments of the album’s finale.
Searching For My Soul is a knockout album that uses modern techniques to establish a send-up to the classic Americana album — there’s plenty for fans new and old to the genre to dig into, as the Mike Montrey Band allows themselves to cut loose and deliver some of their best work yet as a result.