There is a fine line between caricature and authenticity. How much of a particular sound or genre do you take on before it simply becomes an exercise in extended imitation? It’s a fair question that all bands who adhere to a particular set of musical guidelines have to ask themselves at some point. And I’m sure Labretta Suede & The Motel 6 have had this conversation among themselves at some point. Thankfully though, they’ve been able to successfully tread that fine line in their music, which finds a midpoint between the swaggering rock n’ roll of the 50’s and the grimy, rock theatricality of bands like The Stooges and The Dictators. You could also toss in a dash of burlesque, as singer Labretta Suede often prowls around on stage in barely-there clothing, exhibiting a raw sexual ferocity that practically oozes from the pores of their songs. You can hear the full range of the band’s rock blustering on their latest collection of songs, entitled Dirty & Dumb (out now).
In their latest video for the glitzy, whiskey-soaked track, “Mean Mouthed Mama,” Suede and guitarist Johnny Moondog primp and strut while streaks of whiplash guitar riffage crackle and call-and-response vocals are hurled back and forth between the two. Directed by Serg Soza, the video takes on the character of a burlesque show performed at a late-70’s New York dive bar. The split personalities that arise between the gritty rock rhythms and the extravagant costumes and sets make for a fascinating juxtaposition between these two glaring aesthetics. Even here the band is acutely aware of how all this could quickly become cartoonish, but by surrendering completely to (and subtly manipulating) each aspect of the song, they are able to achieve a fragile balance between the song’s exuberant garishness and its’ coarse, vintage CBGB garage rock exterior.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the video for “Mean Mouthed Mama,” from Labretta Suede & The Motel 6’s latest album, Dirty & Dumb.