Saint Motel came to my – and a large audience in the UK – attention in the 2015 version of the excellent EA Sports Fifa soundtrack with their song, My Type. This track, from their 2012 album Voyeur, represents the band’s first taste of real chart success, and saintmotelevision is very much built in the mould of that song in particular.
The opening track from the 2016 release, Move, has identical instrumentation in its introduction to that of My Type: simple rhythmic hand clapping and their now signature horns. The same duo will be found again in perhaps the albums most addictive song, Sweet Talk. Move is then the track which summarises the entire album’s vibe; it is not meant to be enjoyed sitting down.
In the next three tracks on the album (Getaway, Destroyer, and Born Again), we get a demonstration of how the band has perfected their style since their 2009 LP ForPlay. Whilst there were some decent songs on there – Butch and Do Everything Now are personal favourites – the general feel is too heavy and convoluted. The band has since simplified; out has gone the over-elaborate guitar solos in favour of simpler, catchier riffs.
After Sweet Talk tracks 6-10 do vary in that they are slightly more subdued. However, in each there is a memorable hook, riff or chorus that get the head bobbing, which again make it the perfect soundtrack for travelling, Local Long Distance Relationships being a personal favourite. The album ends on the sweet sounding Happy Accidents, which is a calming influence after a fast paced album.
Though not completely bereft of clever moments (I particularly enjoyed the sneaking of Mozart’s Für Elise into the track For Elise) saintmotelevision’s philosophy is clearly ‘less is more’ – each song essentially has one addictive motif on repeat. And lyrically it’s the same story. In the first four tracks in the album, the choruses contain 5, 5, 10 and 4 different words respectively.
Some would (and have) argued this demonstrates lack of depth or lyrical inspiration, but they have misunderstood the genre and purpose of the album. If you want philosophical musings you can go and indulge in Father John Misty or any number of other artists, but if you’re looking for an album that cheers you up or gets you from A to B, you can do no better than saintmotelevison.