Memory Motel are a Reno, NV group, and judging by the name and the test-pattern aesthetic of the cover, you’d think they were a chillwave thing. Fortunately, they’re not – they play a hazy psychedelic pop spiked with electronic elements. This short little 7″ contains only two songs, the first of which is “Wasted Days,” which features spacey keyboards and gentle, chiming guitars. It’s all held together by a pretty cool drum loop – it’s reminiscent of BOARDS OF CANADA, but maybe with the DEERHUNTER guy singing…but imagine that guy didn’t suck so badly. It’s pleasant to listen to, and builds nicely to an actual riff without devolving into a smear of instruments, and without coming off like a gimmick. It’s a pretty solid track.
The B-side is called “Lost Souls”, which doesn’t quite work as well. The guitar part the beginning is built on is really nice, but the keyboards are relied upon too much – it feels about twice as long as it actually is. It feels very, very heavily influenced by Radiohead’s “Exit Music For A Film,” but there’s not quite enough going on here to keep my interest, though the whistling is nice. This band does a good job of mixing electronic elements with non-electronic elements, and knows how to create a lush soundscape, for sure, but with time, the songwriting is sure to get stronger.
LISTEN: Wasted Days, Lost Souls
BUY: Memory Motel Bandcamp
I really do love bands that are able to straddle a fine genre line well. Honeycomb Bones are a UK duo who seem equally influenced by BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB as they do the 2-step-dub-house-laptop-bass-step-wave that England has coming out the ears right now – spiraling psych guitar lines crossed with crisp, snapping drums. It’s an interesting mix – similar to THE KILLS, but more developed, less slinky. If use of a drum machine was all that HB had going for them, though, there’d be a lot less to say. Fortunately, the Bones also bring some good tunes to the party. Opener “Catherine Wheel” features a slow, dirty guitar line, with nimble drum programming that keeps the thing moving along – it gives the impression of a steam train that takes a while to start up, but is impossible to stop once it’s got going.
It’s hard to know what exactly is going on sometimes, the vocals are buried in the mix and some reverb, and the guitars are huge sounding, but this record takes a few listens to get a feel for. There’s not really a bad track on here, but it’s not easy to find a hook. Fortunately, there’s enough cool rhythmic work – especially on 3rd track “Penny Black” – to keep you coming back. I won’t be getting rid of this any time soon, though, and I look forward to whatever else is coming.
LISTEN: MEDIAFIRE (courtesy of the band)
BUY: Honeycomb Bones Tumblr