motel motelnew denver
  • WEDNESDAY, JULY 08, 2009

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Motel Motel are from Brooklyn, and if you think that should tell you everything you need to know, well, in this case you'd probably be wrong. In New Denver, they are scratchy voices over clashing guitars, ceramics with the edges chipped, and feathers with the tips woven with strips of wire. They are alt country and experimental, but don't be mislead by labels either. The twine in each song is not all westerns and cowboys, although a touch of that lingers on each winding line. The album itself, clocking in at an hour and twenty minutes, is an epic affair...a journey of long dirt landscapes and unexpected creatures at every turn.

Cloaked in their city background, tucked underneath easy labels, Motel Motel's album nearly escapes the label of what it actually is, which is a grand, careless clash of convergences and plotlines in this unexpected, unusual pop album...the sort that you might struggle to define as something else, but in all its' one word song titles and simplistic themes, snakes its' way to your mind underneath complications as a perfect pop song. Arvada, at its' end, softens into tambourines and violins accompanying a sweet refrain, but with the static and noise of voices and a tension that slowly fades into nothing. Combate sounds like Phoenix in a frenzied state, leaping into lyrics in catchy verses that disintegrate into an explosive chorus that quickens the pace and intensity. Coffee, in layered noises, a surprisingly tender guitar, and a piano that plays like dewdrops on a dessert land, aspires toward hope and despair; a love song in unlikely plotlines and a melody that is quite likely to linger after the song.

Motel Motel's willing experimentation and play with song structures and instrumentation makes New Denver a fluid, interactive, interesting journey. With their alt country indie pop cloaked as other genres, they charm and delight. The only knock against them lies in the commitment they ask of their listeners. For an album of this length (with more than a few songs over seven minutes long), perhaps their adventure could be just a bit shorter next time. After all, sometimes the beauty of such pop songs are the unexpected changes it offers without such an expansive back story. - Laura Yan

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