saintmotelevision album review

Elektra Records

There are very, very few albums or artists or songs that I listen to for more than eight months at a time. One of the exceptions to this is indie rock band Saint Motel, so when their new album saintmotelevision was released this past October, I got really excited. However, I was soon met with disappointment. But first, a little background.

Debuting in 2009 with their first EP ForPlay, the band members are no foreigners to the music scene, performing at enormous festivals such as Coachella Music and Arts Festival and Austin City Limits Music Festival, and touring with popular bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Imagine Dragons. In their seven years as a band, they’ve had quite a great deal of success with their LP Voyeur (2012) being well reviewed and their EP My Type (2014), making it into European top 40 charts.

The band toured through the majority of 2015 with their EP and eventually took a break. In 2016, they returned to the studio to record their newest LP, saintmotelevision, announcing in July that the album would be released October 2016 and that the album’s first single, “Move,” would be released the following month with an accompanying music video.

Now for the actual music. The album has been well reviewed being described as “bright, fun and incredibly addictive” and “an easy listen to put you in a good mood,” and that’s true, to an extent. As usual, the band has done well writing creative lead lines and melodies with good lyrics, and even incorporated unconventional instruments like trumpet and saxophone in songs such as “Move” and “Sweet Talk,” or even Beethoven’s “Für Elise” into their song “For Elise.”

But, the album has moved the band nowhere. The music sounds the same, with almost formulaic melodies and chord structures without adding any new elements or the interesting twists to the their new album. Regardless of how well their songs are written or well composed the music is, their music is, the album is just plain boring in context of their other music.

Though the music wasn’t horribly original, Saint Motel poured a lot of work into media to accompanying the album. For solely music videos, the band has released three360 virtualizer” music videos–all of which are fairly hard to watch if you get motion sickness easily–for three of the songs on new album and a more conventional video for “Move” recently. Normally, I criticize albums for having crappy music videos that degrade the music itself, but for this album, the rather creative use of technology in their videos adds a quite unique aspect to the album and the music that’s rather stunning.

In addition to the videos, the band also started a contest on Twitter for album design Converse, in which people post videos of themselves dancing to “Move.” I’m not exactly one for dancing, but some of these people’s moves are pretty entertaining.

The music on the album is frankly not phenomenal. However, mediocre music with coupled with rather stunning use of multimedia and interaction with a fanbase really does make a for a good album experience.

 

The Parkway West Pathfinder gives “saintmotelevision” a 8.9/10.