The Western States Motel

    The Western States Motel


    Carl Jordan, recording as the Western States Motel, certainly knows his way around a melody. His self-titled debut is loaded with sweetly sung verses mingling inconspicuously among acoustic guitars and soft piano (“Powerlines,” “If Your Life Is Just a Dream,” “Southwest Planes”) and occasional studio flourishes (“The Restless Sea”). Unfortunately for Jordan, there is a band called the Shins, and all that The Western States Motel aspires to, the Shins have already done, and better. There’s no questioning Jordan’s songwriting gift — “Cheap Speakers” is a great slice of Grandaddy-inspired California folk-funk — but for all its earnest and carefree hopes and its tactful, bright instrumentation, The Western States Motel reflects a part of the artist’s hometown any Southern California resident is familiar with: It’s all sweet and sunny, but it’s all the same.






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