Saint Motel – The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Album Review)

Looking to add dramatic flair to the Alternative music scene, Los Angeles native Indie Pop band Saint Motel released their The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album on June 25th, 2021 via Elektra Records. 

A band difficult to categorize, A/J Jackson (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Aaron Sharp (lead guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass) and Craig Erwin (drums) came together back in 2007 while still attending college. Two years later they released their debut EP, ForPlay before their critically acclaimed debut album in 2012, Voyeur. Following up with the 2014 My Type EP, the hits continued to trickle in with the release of saintmotelivision in 2016. 

Which leads us to more present times when the band dropped The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Part 1 EP in October of 2019, before The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Part 2 EP in March of 2020. So, in case you somehow missed both of these EPs, they now come together for the 2021 full-length album which features all the song, the previously-released single “It’s All Happening,” plus four new songs. 

Right off the bat, the opening track “Old Soul” displays Jackson’s debonair, suave vocals with ‘80s crooner style instrumentation and velvety panache to boot. Meanwhile “Sisters” recalls a early ‘60s female group swagger, with ringing synth beats in the background. The single “Van Horn” uses a surf-synth loop and is twisted into a poppier beat with a lyrical strip tease of developing love. In contrast, “Diane Mozart” is a head bopper that allows Jackson’s falsetto to take the lead, while “Save Me” gives brass horns time to take the beat front for a calmer instrumental tone.

This gives way to the steamy, promiscuous “Make Me Feel Like,” where the previous lyrical strip tease comes to a head. Then there is the twinkly “Slow Dance” which is certainly not what the title describes since the beat is so easy to dance to and could be heard at any ‘80s prom, Aqua Net dreams and all. Then the neon ’80s keep coming with club heavy “A Good Song Never Dies,” which contains deep synth beats, leaving you in a misty trance that feels oh so right. This is while “The Moment” takes a voluminous turn with somber, bass-heavy instrumentation, playing to a love once aflame now faded by uncertainty. Following bass heaviness in tow, “Snake Charmer” incorporates sitar before “Bullet” gives off similarities to OneRepublic, with heavy piano grooves and a funk that only a Dream Pop band can bring.

Moving forward, the vibrant, resolute “It’s All Happening” plays to the feel of victory and closure, or turn of fortune, with echoing vocals that soar before “Origami” waves a lighter to Jackson’s sounds of melancholy. Finally, “No Cares” truly brings the closure needed for this record, wrapping up the experience of being wild and free, and no longer tied to the past. 

Saint Motel has been on a high the past few years creating a cohesiveness with each entry into their pantheon of albums. With this new, complete album they have certainly found a niche and they keep it concise and clean. Fun to listen to and much like a real motion picture soundtrack, Cryptic Rock gives Saint Motel’s The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 3.5 out of 5 stars.


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