Californian quartet Saint Motel bring forth their eagerly anticipated sophomore album, the eccentrically named Saintmotelevision. The near decade-old group unveiled their second album with its eye-catchingly nostalgic artwork, which features a woman swiftly diving into a pastel blue television screen as if it were a swimming pool, evocative of Coldplay’s video for summer single Up&Up. Dubbed as “dream pop” by some, Saint Motel are probably best known for their brassy, psychedelic 2014 hit My Type, traces of which can be heard on their latest LP, especially on opening track Move which has been selected as part of the FIFA 17. And it’s easy to see why; musically at times My Type 2.0, the band don’t fail to hook the listener’s attention from the go with this shiny introductory song and bubbly chorus which stays with the listener long after the track ends.
Boldly titled Get Away is up next, which launches into electronic rhythmic beats straight from the off, and yet perhaps leave the listener disappointed in a lyrically simple, repetitive chorus developing from such a promising beginning. However, blended in with the electro beats are smooth bass hooks and pulsing percussion parallel to that of Glass Animals.
Track three is Destroyer, another determined piece which propels us into defining drumming intertwined with an energetic saxophone solo juxtaposing lead vocalist A/J Jackson’s defiant mantra of, “I don’t break hearts, I destroy them” before the following piece takes over with a more optimistic message.
Born Again repeats the bold piano notes heard previously throughout the tracklist, alongside a gospel vibe which leads the album to a slight change in tempo and mood as we approach the album’s halfway point. The band clearly know the drill as song number five begins, a track echoing those off debut album Voyeur. Sweet Talk is another three-minute collection of clapping, upbeat trumpet notes and electric guitar chords, before self-affirming You Can Be You. A musically simpler piece, and a refreshing change-up from the factory Saint Motel signature heard so frequently in the first half of the LP, the track has more focus on drums and guitars and a step away from jazz tones sewn into earlier tracks.
For Elise is another divider from the indie-pop/dream-pop genre as it moves towards the alternative spectrum, with its fast-paced vocals which at times reverberate Twenty One Pilots and yet still conforms with the factory produced Saint Motel trademark sound before fading out. Next is Local Long Distance Relationship (LA2NY), kicking off with hopeful, bouncing guitar and piano beats, however by now the vocals and chorus are easy to predict and echo their predecessors on the album.
Penultimate track is Slow Motion, a piece which begins with electronic notes in an attractive rhythm by no means in slow motion, as it segues into pining lyrics of a man desperate for requited love, before launching into the album’s closing track, the optimistically named Happy Accidents. A gentler, acoustic piece, the listener can’t help feel the track belongs in the soundtrack of a film adaptation of an indie young adult novel. Nonetheless, it makes for a strong closing song and an attempt to stay in the mind of the listener as it brings Saintmotelevision to an end – though hopefully the next instalment in the series will have more to offer.