Relaxing, upbeat and balanced
“Balance, balance, balance” the singer of Motel Radio sings in “Ego Death” and that is exactly what Motel Radio provides in their latest album entitled Siesta Del Sol. The band composed an album that is at the same time laid-back, but with songs and sounds that were deliberately written. It is relaxed, but never stagnant.
“I’m running away to an open-casket sunset,” are the first lyrics in “Ego Death” and the first lyrics sung on the album. It fittingly encapsulates the balance by reconciling contradictions: between running away and running toward, between life and death, between beginnings and endings. This makes the track an excellent and thoughtful beginning to Motel Radio’s longest album yet. The ten songs last 43 minutes, but there is never a lull in the duration.
Part of the album’s momentum is due to Motel Radio’s sound which manages to be both fresh and nostalgic. They have a psychedelic-indie sound that is certainly all their own, but shows a dedication to the past. Their dreamy harmonies and atmospheric guitars contribute to this feeling. The album is bright, like it would be at home coming through a speaker on the beach.
But Siesta Del Sol is not just about creating a feeling, though they do that effectively. “What’s a penny for your thoughts” they sing on “Lucid.” The song is about being in a state between waking and dreaming, which is mimicked in its soft strumming and enchanting beat.
The entire album has a similarly cohesive tone. It’s relaxed but upbeat, dreamy mood frame songs on differing themes. This tone rewards both the initial listen and subsequent ones.
Listening to this album, it’s difficult to escape the sense that Motel Radio created this album more for themselves than for anyone. They wanted to test the limits of what they could write and what they could perform. They wanted to write lyrics that made sense to them, but didn’t cater to anyone else.
This feeling becomes especially relevant on the record’s final track “Blue Love” when they ask “are you done digging up my garden?” After listening to almost the entire album, the lyrics feel like an accusation. This is not to say Siesta Del Sol is not meant to be listened to—the passion for music is obvious throughout the album—but it feels personal. Motel Radio wants to share their passion for their music, but they want to write the music they love and hope you love it too. They strike a perfect balance between the artist and the performer.