San Francisco’s Monophonics have been serving up a high quality of soulful psychedelia since 2012’s In Your Brain. Over the years, the Bay Area band has increased their range and style while staying honest to the classic soul sounds. Sage Motel keeps the progression going as the record once again has Monophonics at the top of their genre with a timeless approach that simply just sways out of your speakers.
Sage Motel is once again produced by bandleader and vocalist Kelly Finnigan. As soon as the intro track concludes he is your concierge for the next 36 minutes. The title track kicks the record off right and could be one of the swagiest tracks Monophonics has released. Finnigan has a very Marvin Gaye/Curtis Mayfield vocal that soars on this mid-tempo song, especially when he exclaims “look what you’re doing to me – making me fall in love,” which only gets catchier when the female backing vocals come in for support. This passion exists in every song on the record as you always feel that Finnigan leaves it all on tape. Other things that stand out on this record are the strings that flow in the background of “The Shape Of My Teardrops” that gives the song a different dramatic effect while the finger snapping “Love You Better” is another upbeat swayer that will get you moving. The horns in “Warpaint” add an intensity to the song that makes it stand out as Finnigan is always really good of perfectly pairing his vocal emotion with the arrangements.
If you have been a fan of the Monophonics psychedelic soul there is no reason you won’t love Sage Motel. Overall, it is a record that once again is a grower as each track really settles into your head upon repeat listens. Finnigan has been and continues to be a powerful soul crooner that stays in a comfortable space throughout this album. His control is the addiction here and with his continued drive for perfection, the Monophonics will continue to offer up records that are well worth checking out every single time!
“Sage Motel” / “Love You Better” / “Warpaint”
ARTISTS WITH SIMILAR FIRE
Marvin Gaye / The Dip / Aaron Frazer
MONOPHONICS REVIEW HISTORY
It’s Only Us (2020)