Ashley Park The Secretariat Motor Hotel

During his musical career, Terry Miles has undergone a few chameleon-like changes. From his GBV-influenced days in Saturnhead, to the gentler days of Ashley Park, it is sometimes hard to believe that the same person is involved. While Ashley Park’s previous records have skirted the border of Elephant 6-land, The Secretariat Motor Hotel sees the band packing up and driving over to the next town over from the Beachwood Sparks and all those other darlings of the alt-country scene. Terry Miles calls it Canadiana, and that’s probably as good a description as any because the band don’t quite commit fully to the country twang, but it doesn’t feel like such a dramatic change in the band’s style. Plus recruiting guest musicians such as P:ano’s Nick Krgovich helps to flesh out the band’s new sound. As with Ashley Park’s other albums, The Secretariat Motor Hotel is a concept album of sorts, similar mid-career Kinks. It tells tales of the strange characters who live in the hotel. But ultimately, the songs are essentially the same as the band’s previous albums — unassuming, acoustic pop songs that gently tug at your heartstrings until they win you over. And for that reason alone, The Secretariat Motor Hotel is just as good as anything else the band has recorded. (Darling)