Release Date: Jul 3, 2012
Record label: Thirty Tigers
Ah, the ever-elusive “perfect summer record.” Every year, every time spring gives way to blistering heat, the search for the next best soundtrack to summer recommences. This summer, Chicago-by-way-of-Los Angeles quintet Gold Motel is making a strong stand for the title, at least in the pop category. The band’s 12-track, self-titled sophomore release surges with pretty girl-boy harmonies and vintage reverb effects, and yet, it’s all grounded with an indie practicality.
This New York outfit’s sophomore album fabulously blends an interesting line between The Cardigans and The Strokes. “Musicians” spunks up the retro-pop formula with a fuzzy wall of sound, big attitude, boy-girl harmonies, an absolutely killer chorus and the genius line, “Most of my friends are musicians in the subway stations.” However, songs like “Santa Cruz” make this album fallible—they aren’t as beautiful as the place and memories evoked from the titles. .
Conjuring the glimmering sunshine, crisp breeze, and carefree vibes of the West Coast, it comes as no surprise that Chicago-based indie pop purveyors Gold Motel began working on their second album by traveling to California. From the hills of Laurel Canyon to a pool house in Glendale, these early sessions set the foundation for what became their self-titled sophomore record. Where full-length debut Summer House was more of a vehicle to showcase singer/keyboardist Greta Morgan, with Gold Motel a full band with all its unique personalities is on display (hence the decision to make the album self-titled), revealing expanded musicality and matured songwriting.
Making it in the take-no-prisoners world of rock and roll can be a grind, and understandably so, considering the nonstop cycle of recording and touring that so many bands are forced to endure as a means of survival. Then, there are bands like Gold Motel, who (at least on the surface) appear to handle the rigors of being a mid-level band like a skip through the park. The Chicago group’s free-spirited approach is a sunny respite from so many of its indie rock counterparts.
If you were to take a typical California road trip and distill it into one album of music, this would be it. A road trip is not all sunshine and happiness. There has to be a reason you want to get away, an initial longing for something more. At this crossroads between excitement, adventure and melancholy, Gold Motelresides.Very much like fellow indie-poppers Los Campesinos!, there is a disconnect between the tone of the music and the lyrical message in Gold Motel’s music.