SONG REVIEW – Motenko “On Your Level”

By: Garrett Bethmann

Think about this for a moment: when was the last time you felt alive?

Let that special rush of life, whatever it may be to you, wash over your senses. Feels good doesn’t it? Now, how long has it been since you felt that sensation? If you’re lucky, hopefully it hasn’t been that long, a couple days, maybe a week. If you’re like a lot of us, those memories might feel vague and grey, us not having seen the color of life in a while.

It’s understandable. Routine, responsibilities and the rigor of a normal day are enough to tamp down the fire inside anyone until it is nothing but embers, barely enough to keep you warm through the night. We’ve all been there before, we’ll all be there again. But there is a point that comes where you realize this dreary, banal, reality doesn’t have to be, at least not for tonight.

This passion for life is what drives the debut single “On Your Level” from Austin, Texas’ Motenko. With a drumroll and crack of the snare, you’re snapped out of life’s doldrums and into the warm, croon of lead singer and pianist Micah Motenko. He spreads it smooth like butter over a soul-wop melody and sunny swells of horns, pining “Show me what I’ve been missing/ Cause I’ve been on the inside looking out.”

The pressure in Motenko’s voice rises as he yearns for a release. When he finally gives into that excitement, all the built up tension in the verses is finally shot out in an exciting boogie-woogie breakdown on piano, his soul freewheeling down the city streets, filled with the the hopeful energy a gorgeous sunset might bring to someone who wishes for a magical night out on the town. He’s slipped into the erotic power of life for yourself, on your own terms, seduced by the here and now. It’s an open invitation to join for anyone else who needs to experience that fiery spark of life again.

Motenko has been bringing that flirtatious heat to Austin, Texas’ music scene since early 2018. The band, which includes Micah Motenko (piano/ vocals), Cat Clemmons III (guitar), Josh Flowers (bass) and James Gwynn (drums), has been holding a cozy residency for over a year at the east Austin venue Stay Gold, swooning the crowds with their Motown-inspired songwriting and R&B grooves. The sweet, heart-felt vibes rippling through Motenko’s music and lyrics will add a soulful zest to anyone’s day, enough to make you feel alive again, even if only for a song.

 

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