Gold Motel (EP)

Gold Motel

Independent release, 2010

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


Having outsourced my college education to the East Coast, where we’ve currently gotten two feet of snow with no sign of stopping, I’ve almost forgotten warm, sunny California – palm trees and cupcakes and year-round beach-going…why am I in Baltimore again? Regardless, all you need to escape back to So Cal is this disc, the debut EP from Gold Motel. Fronted by Greta Morgan (formerly of The Hush Sound) and recorded with Dan Duzsynszski of This Is Me Smiling, Gold Motel is a lighthearted, jangly affair, akin to The Beach Boys’ flair for airy melodies and bouncing harmonies. According to the group’s press release, “Gold Motel doesn’t exist, but if it did, you’d find it on a winding road somewhere in the sun-drenched hills of Southern California.” Even thousands of miles from home, this rings true when you spin these five songs.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Their self-titled EP is short and sweet, clocking in at barely under fifteen minutes (a full-length is due in early June), but the energy is seamless and unfailing (they describe their sound as “ice cream melting in the sun”, which captures their cool/sweet/warm vibe succinctly.) Morgan’s vocals are crystal-clear and serene, tricked out by tight bursts of instrumentation: weaving guitars, upbeat drums, and breathless harmonies. Opener “Perfect In My Mind” will stick in your head, and it’s hard not to be charmed when Morgan sings, “Everything is just fine / So long as I’m by your side / It’s perfect in my mind” (try it on a Valentine’s Day mix!).

Meanwhile, the group’s lyrical chops belie that of typical bubblegum pop – see “The Cruel One,” swathed with keyboards, Morgan’s buoyant vocals, and bare sentiments that dig beneath the gilded West Coast exterior (“I am your sinking stone / I’d rather be alone than drag you down / And pick you up / Haven’t you been through enough?”).

Slowing the mood down is “Who Will I Be Tonight,” a bluesy sort of lounge song based around a swooning piano line and highlighting Morgan’s spare, poetically honest lyrics. The subdued instrumentation fits this track perfectly, and it’s nice to see the band exploring their palette on this quick first look. Similarly, “Don’t Send the Searchlights” closes out the EP a little differently than the love-soaked, carefree opener. The beats are still bouncy and swirling, but this song is as kiss-off more than anything as Morgan sings, “You aren’t a color / You will wash away / The spark will only fade the longer that it stays / I’ve been looking for your silver lining / It’s getting me nowhere / It’s a waste of time.”

Energetic, joyful instrumentation, tight lyrics, and a beguiling front woman all come together for a pretty great listening experience on Gold Motel’s first EP. It may be a blizzard here in Baltimore, but it’s easy to keep in good spirits with good music.

Rating: A-

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