ALBUM REVIEW: Remedy Motel Delivers Emotionally Enriching Americana-Fueled LP In ‘We Are All Around Us’

Break out those wooden rocking chairs and prime up those speakers for some refreshing new “Porch Rock” tunes, just in time for the cooler weather. Salt Lake City-based Americana collective, Remedy Motel, delivers their effortlessly ear-pleasing sound in their latest and fifth album, We Are All Around Us.

Behind the music is Mica Johnson and long-time friends, Mike DiGregorio and Nate Semerad, both of whom are founding band members. Born from the picturesque vistas in the snowy mountains of Utah, the tracks relay a more personal and honest side to them than the band’s previous recordings. With each release, the band continues to showcase its evolution in musicianship and songwriting ability, digging deep to put out their most authentic selves. 

The 11-song compilation was recorded in a family cabin, an intimate setting for some deeply resonating tunes. Having spent 18 months working on the production of this album, Remedy Motel’s dedication to its craft is palpable in each track. 

“We Are All Around Us”

Beginning with the title track, “We Are All Around Us,” Remedy Motel dives right into a heartfelt number that sets the tone for the songs to follow. The group’s imaginative lyricism shines beneath Americana guitar twang and an underlying piano melody. A haunting series of repeating harmonies and echoes towards the song’s end leaves a lasting sense of yearning, driving home the chorus. 

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In a world where many try to tear each other down, a bit of self-assurance is refreshing. Paired with a heavy snare influence, “It’s Your Time” is about finding inner strength when things don’t work out. Perhaps the most indelible line, “If they’re gonna look at you like you’re crazy / They’re probably right,” inspires an energizing confidence in oneself that surpasses what anyone may say. 

“It’s Your Time”

Featuring Liela Avila, “Rearrange” is easily this writer’s favorite song off the album. Bursting with evocative back-and-forth vocals that give way to effortless bouts of harmony, the merging of these talents makes for a soulful work of art. Avila’s tender voice flawlessly compliments Remedy Motel’s rougher tones, and the lyrics encourage compromise in the face of adversity and making change to overcome difficulties. 

Focusing on a more fast-paced melody, “Harder and Harder” jumps in with a swinging rock n’ roll/bluesy influence. Narrating the string of difficulties that life seems to continuously throw at you, the song portrays an honest view of life as “one long race, with a tape you’ll never break.” 

We Are All Around Us

We’ve all had that experience of coming to terms with a harsh reality, and the album’s closing track, “You Were Right,” perfectly captures that reluctant admittance of things falling apart in front of your eyes. Under the powerful guitar riffs, the lyrics lament a visible regret for missing the signs and the difficulty that comes with such shortcomings, most apparent in the line, “But as I come to, it all comes into view.” Ending with a lasting, “goodnight,” the track is a fitting farewell.

Calling themselves “a musical brotherhood” seems to ring true regarding Remedy Motel’s values and mission. A mix of songwriters, recording artists, and musicians, the band has crafted hundreds of Americana, folk, and alt-country songs for artists and bands across the west. With an impressive catalog, it’s no surprise that their music continues to spur intrigue in the Americana landscape, and We Are All Around Us is no exception. 

Mica Johnson

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