This past Wednesday, Mr. Mota — a local favorite in the Boulder music scene — released their debut single, “Smoke Too Much,” to all streaming platforms after years of sticking exclusively to live performances around Colorado. The record has, over time, become a clear staple in the five-piece blues/jam rock setlist, and is a concise reflection of a sound and style they’ve worked to build.
The record — an airtight three minutes in length — allows each member to put a stamp on the single. Lead singer Max Lerman’s smooth, raspy vocals are cool in delivery and humorous in theme. Co-written with vocalist/guitarist Will Rosenthal, they form clever entendre like, “Find a good spot where I can be loud,” and perfectly placed vocal bridges such as the cutting, “I see them walking out back, something’s going on…” Their songwriting is well-founded but doesn’t take itself seriously. Rosenthal and Willie Vogel, Mr. Mota’s two guitarists take turns trading bluesy riffs and fully-charged guitar fills, most notably between the infectious chorus lines. Ari Lerman, the group’s bassist, takes moments of calculated bliss, wedging in an unforgettable bass line. One moment, it’s the record’s backbone, and the next, it’s the star of the show, humming bellowing chords into the listener’s eardrums. Drummer Brendan Lamb is so clearly confident in his ability to play into, alongside or beneath his bandmates. During each verse, he keeps his hi-hat and snares snappy, allowing for Lerman to do the talking, but as soon as he plays into the chorus, he loosens his grip, playing crashing drum lines.
In short, “Smoke Too Much” is well-rounded. Each member of Mr. Mota has something of immense value to contribute. By taking turns showing their strengths, the entire puzzle fits together, forming a track that will prove to be a perfect choice to be their first-ever studio release.
Catch Mr. Mota live with Trusetto at The Bluebird Theater on Sunday, December 4. Tickets available here.