Updated: Jun 20, 2021
After listening to Connor Bracken and The Mother Leeds Band’s second full-length album, Nightbird Motel, the only logical thought is, “when can I see these guys live?!” This blues-rock band from Asbury Park, including members Connor Bracken (guitarist and frontman), Rich Seyffart (Drums), Jeff Linden (Guitar), and Chris Dubrow (Bass), can rock anyone’s socks off. Named after the Mother of the Jersey Devil (Mother Leeds), this band couldn’t be more Jersey if they wanted to be. From their first LP, The Light in the Day, to their live album Wonderful Year, the latest installment has been their greatest to date.
Nightbird Motel is a ten-track LP, clocking in 45 minutes exactly, with all tracks being over three minutes. Longer tracks, while ordinary for classic rock bands, seem to be a thing of the past. The industry and radio typically steer clear of anything over three minutes, but CBMLB proves that there is still a need for hard-rocking that three minutes won’t suffice. Kicking off the record with “When the World Stops Turning,” a song that showcases their ability to bundle a catchy riff (traded between bass and guitar) and hook all in one while also illustrating Bracken’s clean and sharp guitar work. Next, “Read on You,” a groovy number where the grit of Bracken’s vocals is just * chef’s kiss.* “Photographs of Johnny” starts with a twangy guitar riff parallel with the bass before taking off into a catchy jam track that has a robust aroma of the Arctic Monkeys.
The second half of the album begins with “Blame on Me,” a vast space with a song slowly slithering in before striking you with the grunge of Bracken singing, “I can feel you coming like the viper in the sand..” The refrain comes in to rock you with volition singing “Hey jealousy/ Put the Blame on me,” but the cherry on top of the whole tune is clearly the ripping guitar solo and fierce drums. After, we have “Liquorstore,” a lovely store that we’ve all been seen significantly more at (thank you, COVID), which comes with an official music video! The video showcases the intoxicating stage presence of Bracken and the chemistry between the band. Rock’ n roll is restored with “Liquorstore.”
On track eight, we finally are greeted with the (almost) title track, “Nightbird,” a tune that feels the most intimate with closer miking and more vivid storytelling. While the song clocks in at 6:17, the longest one on the record, it is not short of being another rock anthem you can almost imagine yourself head-banging along to in an over-packed bar. The album begins to wind down with a tender love song, “Dream of You and Me,” that still has the CBMLB spice on it. But the curtain closer is the sweetest one of all. “Reprise” is sugar-coated ear candy with soft acoustic picking that could just rock you to sleep.
LONG STORY SHORT:Nightbird Motel is a well-crafted and produced collection of campfire stories, with the grit and grime of hard rock. Connor Bracken and the Mother Leeds Band are an adrenaline-fired band that could make Springsteen (even more) proud of his hometown.