Gold Motel is the new band of Greta Salpeter, a Chicago musician who was in indie band The Hush Sound for several years. This is a solo EP for Ms. Salpeter. Although she is a vocalist and a pianist, she apparently did all of this music by herself. Since then she has put together a band, and is touring and working on a full-length.
I wonder how this sounds with a band? I ask that because the EP itself is very well-realized. The music here is bright and shiny pop, clean and clear. Salpeter's voice is front and center, and she has a really good voice. Her vocal style reminds a lot of 1960s girl pop. I guess that this is similar to what The Pipettes were doing, only with just the one singer, and a little less shouting.
There are five songs here, the first of which is Perfect In My Mind. This kicks things off with a slow drum beat and an organy keyboard. Salpeter's voice is slightly echoed, like she is singing in a big room. A guitar comes in with a jangly riff, and the song just flows along slightly. "Everything is just fine," Salpeter reassures the listener. The music matches the sentiment nicely.
Make Me Stay seems to be more of a 1970s style tune than is usual for Gold Motel. By that i mean that Salpeter plays her piano in a staccato manner that always reminds me of Electric Light Orchestra. Her voice is combined with a soaring guitar and a steady bass beat. This is my least favorite tune on the EP, but even so it is not without some merit.
On The Cruel One she plays piano more like Paul McCartney in early Wings. It is a plinking tone that lays down mostly rhythm behind the excellent vocals. There are layers of her voice here, which is a really nice effect.
Next, we have the slow, mournful jazz ballad Who Will I Be Tonight?. Here a faint organ is combined with plunked upright bass, and Salpeter singing slowly, a light jazz tune about her unfaithful lover. Her voice is very well suited for this style, and so despite the sad nature of the song, it shines through as a rather beautiful tune.
After the slow melancholy of Who Will I Be Tonight? fades out, Gold Motel jolt the listener with a loud guitar hit, followed by chugging guitar reminiscent of The Lovecats. Don't Send The Searchlights is the loudest song on the EP, and it really works. It starts off with that sort of Cure reference, but by the time it hits the chorus there are multiple voices and an insistent drum beat to make a tune that references Martha and the Vandellas while not seeming old-fashioned. This is a great tune, and i hope to hear more from Gold Motel in this vein.
For a self-released debut EP, this is actually really good. I suppose that it helps that this is the work of a practiced musician. I think that Ms. Salpeter has some really good ideas, and she has an excellent voice with which to execute those ideas.
According to her website, there will be an LP in the summer, with the promise of some touring. I would be really curious to see how this translates to the stage. I hope they swing through Atlanta.