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. You know the ones, the bands who either insist on wearing their endlessly toured hardship on their sleeves, or are too busy trying to posture themselves as being cool to care. Gold Motel, the band’s newly released, self-titled effort, proves, if nothing else, that there is a place to be claimed in the indie subculture between agitation and apathy. And, as it turns out, it’s a pretty swell place to be.
The 12 tracks contained within Gold Motel are so light and airy that they almost beg to be swept away by a sharp wind gust. But even in its more somber, heartbroken moments (“These Sore Eyes”), the record is all warmth and sunshine, frolicking through indie, twee pop, doo wop, and ’60s-style pop rock with infectious ease. “Brand New Kind of Blue” starts things off with Greta Morgan’s sweet, chanteuse vocal stylings, one of the record’s hallmarks and strengths. The xylophones that highlight the mid-temp jangle pop of “In Broad Daylight” further the record’s irrepressible cheerfulness, while “Your Own Ghost”, buoyed by a boogie, New Wave bass line, and an “ooh, ooh, ooh” chorus breakdown, briefly chucks the album’s pleasant naivete just long enough to give the record a healthy dose of fun swagger. The rest of Gold Motel drifts along with similarly placid assurance.
There are moments where the record’s perpetual sunniness leave you asking for shade, but those moments are fleeting at best. Gold Motel is in the truest sense a feel-good record, one perfectly suited for the mellow, hazy days it reaches so far to recreate.
Essential Tracks: “These Sore Eyes”, “In Broad Daylight”