Saint Motel has been quietly crafting their own recipe for success for nearly a decade. Formed in 2009 by film school classmates A/J Jackson (lead singer) and Aaron Sharp (lead guitar), the soon-to-be four piece made a splash in 2014 following the release of their EP My Type. The infectious indie pop sounds found on songs like the title track, “My Type”, and “Cold Cold Man” garnered the attention of radio stations nationwide and formed bonds with thousands of new fans. Perhaps even more important was the deal with Elektra Records they inked just months later. My Type introduced Saint Motel to fans that may never have been and earned them a deal with a major record label. Yet it is their debut album, Voyeur, which was released in 2012, that is more consistent with their highly anticipated and newly released sophomore album, saintmotelevision.
Saint Motel stands out from the crowd thanks to their unique sound, which can most accurately be described as contemporary retro sounds tinged with influences from multiple genres. Whereas many bands fall short searching for inspiration, emulation, and musical focus, Saint Motel thrives. They use their musical influences more as context clues, while carving out their own niche among the indie pop, dream pop, alternative rock, or whatever other genres you may classify them as.
Saint Motel’s current trajectory may seem as quite the departure from their early film school aspirations, but to the contrary, their background has been a very important influence for their musical success. Their film school education has had a tangible effect on their creative process, which has carried over to their music videos, live shows, and music as a whole. Jackson has directed most of their music videos and has a hand in the production of their live shows. Saint Motel’s concerts are curated to make fans feel as though they’re watching a movie. The complexity that makes this perspective possible goes hand-in-hand with their music.
A full listen through saintmotelevision feels like you could have just listened to that of a movie soundtrack. Each song tells a story, and carries its own weight. “Move”, the first single off of the album, has received great radio attention, thanks in part to the hype “My Type” generated, but the song is perhaps the weakest on the album in terms of its complexity and fullness. At just 10 songs long, the album is short but nonetheless deep. There isn’t a song that can’t stand on its own nor should any be neglected during live performances.
Saintmotelevision is a journey through Saint Motel’s creative expression. Each track is unique, has a sense of their trademark retro sound, and offers a different perspective from either the previous or next song in queue. The album is a continuation of Saint Motel’s quest to be unique. Released four years apart, the difference between it and Voyeur isn’t too noticeable. The addition of Elektra Records and producer Tim Pagnotta helped channel Saint Motel’s vision and creative processes into a solid, energy-packed album that’s easy to listen all the way through. Pagnotta, who is also the lead singer of Sugarcult, most recently produced Walk the Moon’s smash hit album Talking is Hard. The dance pop sensibilities on that album is certainly just as noticeable as on saintmotelevision. “Move” opens the album perfectly, showcasing Saint Motels ingenuity. Other notable fun, up tempo tracks include “Getaway” and “For Elise” while the album closing ballad, “Happy Accidents”, perfectly showcases Jackson’s silky smooth vocals.
saintmotelevision’s vibe feels more like a distant cousin, if anything, more than a copycat. Copycat is not in Saint Motel’s DNA. They are one of the most unique indie rock artists out there and can tell a story unlike anyone else.
Indie Pop | Elektra Records