Review Summary: A nice shot of the arm of optimism.
A couple years ago, I got hit with this infectious bug from this song called "My Type." It had a ton of soul, swagger, and just made me want to dance. The band behind this infectious indie pop gem goes by the name of Saint Motel
, and as I dove into their discography, I began to see that "My Type" wasn't just a one-trick pony: they had a ton more in their catalog to enjoy. Their debut full-length from 2012, Voyeur
, had that same indie party pop vibe that I enjoyed so much from "My Type" while also showing a little bit of an expanded palette at times. It wasn't perfect, but it was incredibly enjoyable.
Fast forward to today. I've been waiting for a new release from Saint Motel
ever since I finished listening to their back catalog, and this Friday saintmotelevision
is getting released to the world. But does it live up to the hype, and will it please people like me who fell head over heels in love with their older work"
The answer to both of these questions is a yes, but it could be a more enthusiastic one. saintmotelevision
is a solid indie party pop album, but it does have a somewhat homogenous feel and doesn't do enough to differentiate itself from Saint Motel
's older work. Take a look at the album's opener, "Move": it has those same ripping horn lines as "My Type," and is even in the same exact key with a similar feel. It's a great track, to be sure, but it does lack a little bit of originality. The entirety of the album goes a more electronic direction than Voyeur
did, which is something that I don't particularly mind either way. It's one of the few ways to differentiate between the two albums, and these elements lend a little bit of a tighter rhythmic feel to saintmotelevision
. It's a bit of give and a bit of take because the album feels a hair less authentic and real as a result, but the swagger remains in huge doses, so I can dig it.
There are a couple of really unique tracks on saintmotelevision
, however, and thankfully they all hit the mark perfectly and help distract from some of the homogeneity in the rest of the album. One of my favorite tracks is "For Elise," and it largely is because of the smart integration of Beethoven's "Fur Elise." It doesn't seem like it would fit into an indie pop song, but it works incredibly well because they don't force it in until about 2/3 of the way through the song. Another album highlight is "Born Again." There's a bit of a spiritual slant to the lyrics, but what stands out to me is the slightly gospel vibe in the composition. With small additions of a choir and organ, it does a lot to enhance the song's lyrics and also makes it stick out just a hair from the rest.
is an incredibly fun listen with its anthemic indie party pop, but people who look into it too much might find less to like because the album lacks a little bit of substance. It's a record that's really good for certain moods, and I can already tell that I'll be giving it plenty of spins when I need a bit of an optimistic start to my day or if I'm incredibly happy about life. These kinds of records are some of my favorites because they are bright, fun, and incredibly addictive, even if they're not the most musically or lyrically spectacular. saintmotelevision
is definitely a nice shot in the arm of optimism and pep in a world of increasingly serious indie music.
My rating: 3.5/5
Best tracks: "Move," "Born Again," "Sweet Talk," "For Elise"
Author's note: special thanks to Noisetrade and Saint Motel for releasing a free stream of
saintmotelevision during the week before its release.