A mere seven months after embarking on her solo project, Ms. Greta Morgan is back with a second Gold Motel release, this one beefed up to record length, and with a band now backing her up. (PostLibyanís note: donít ask me when she changed last names. On the EP, she was Greta Salpeter. Now she is Greta Morgan. Who knows what this is supposed to mean!) Gold Motel is now a five-piece act, with two guitars, bass, and drums backing up Ms. Morgan on keyboards and vocals.
The sound is still the same though: smooth pop with a 1960s girl group slant. The music is uplifting on the whole, and conveys a sense of wonder at the world, all driven by a catchy beat. If you enjoy that sort of music, then Gold Motel is an excellent band to follow. I know that some listeners will find them too upbeat, too retro, and thatís fine. Go back to wallowing in your droning metal. I, on the other hand, am going to play Summer House and bounce around my condoÖ
Summer House isnít precisely a new album. If you already had the EP, then this is basically a compilation involving that EP and adding five additional songs. I guess this is like two EPs compiled into one thing. Of the ten songs here, five of them have already been reviewed on EvilSponge. Now, the good news here is that this means there are five new Gold Motel songs to consider. Letís go over each.
The album begins with a jaunty guitar and drum hit in Weíre On the Run. Ms. Morgan joins in, and the song proceeds at a 1960s girl group take on Reggae, with a head-bopping melody that gets all crunchy on the choruses. A good start to the record. Next comes Perfect In My Mind, which kicked off the Gold Motel EP and is a close-to-perfect pop tune. It is three minutes of beats and sing-alongableness.
The next song is, perhaps, live. Or at least, there are crowd noises sampled at the start and the end to make it seem like this is a live recording. At any rate, the song is called Safe in L.A. and is a heart-wrenching song of loss built on the same song template that Saturday Looks Good to Me used. There are hand claps, bass solos, and echoed guitar fleshing the song out all over a beat that makes you want to twist your hips.
Stealing the Moonlight is up next, and here there is another voice. According to the website, guitarist Dan D. also sings a bit, and here he duets with Ms. Morgan. It's a nice effect, and this song moves along pretty rapidly, the two of them trading lines on the verses and sharing vocals on the choruses. It's a pleasant love song.
Fireworks After Midnight is the third new song in a row, and this is a little slower. The guitar sounds acoustic, and the drums are echoed and sparse. This is a slow, folkish song. It is pretty, but not as frenetic and fun as the rest of their songs.
And then Ms. Morgan changes it up a bit with the epic Donít Send the Searchlights. The Lovecats-esque bit that starts of the song is still something of a shock after what came before, but this tune moves along at a great pace and is really catchy. My favorite of their tunes, but just barely.
The rest of the debut EP is next, with Make Me Stay followed by The Cruel One followed by the slow vocal burn of Who Will I Be Tonight?. Good stuff, and the material sounds on par with the rest of the album. That is, the ten songs here are all of a similar quality level. None vary too much from the girl pop template, but they all do it well.
Finally the album wraps up with the title track, a new song. This moves along rapidly with a happy staccato guitar riff and some nice basswork. Again, the guitars have a vague reggae feel to them, and Ms. Morgan sings very nicely. I like that, on the chorus, the drummer accelerates at a breakneck pace, as if he just wants to pummel through the choruses to get back to the languid verses. Anyway, this is another fine song.
Summer House is not a long record. The whole thing clocks in at just over 30 minutes, so it is short, but it is a quality recording and I think that it works on the whole. Ms. Morgan has a great voice, and she writes some catchy, happy tunes. The band she has put together to play her music is pretty engaging.
Gold Motel continues to impress. Now, when will they come down South on tour?