Rock & Pop: Paris Motel
Paris Motel, Kid Tempo and The Money
Tuesday, August 31st, 7:30 – 11pm, £5/£4
Water Rats, 328 Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross
0207 436 7211
Paris Motel Jumps Genres and Haunts Houses - Constructed by the well-versed hands of one-man-band Amy Mae, Paris Motel manages to somehow couple classical creepy Victorian plucking with whiny honky-tonk, groovy soul, and kitschy folk, which makes for a good guess as to what genre they won’t try and tackle.
PARIS MOTEL's RUDDY and intriguingly archaic sound – likely a product of fronter Mae’s formal music education -- winds in out of the whole album, popping up as a spindly background through tinkly piano, whispery backing vocals and pacifying strings. ‘Hello Paris Motel’, opens with chirping birds and tugging strings, followed by the wistful and raw ‘Fiona Viola’: an Air-esque track with a heartier beat and a less-corpse-like aura.
‘Beautiful Eyes’ and ‘I’m Onto You’ keep on Mae’s mod blonde wig but adds a large Texas belt buckle, making a sometimes-uncomfortable mix of rag, soul and honky. ‘Heavenly Times’ and ‘Marcelle and the Little Raspberry’ fit their respective descriptions, as Mae’s voice lifts to the late days of Ida and their charming singsong children albums.
Yet, the album struggles to fit interestingly enough into the sixties: ‘Harriet’s Kitchen’ is its Penny Lane, although Mae breaks into a few more evocative bridges with savoury strings, and ‘Sistine Chapel’ plods along to the yawning drawl of a soulless soul, save for a squeaky clarinet and someone’s incessant whistling.
Most notably on this album are the haunting ‘Maps’, when the album’s tempo shoots away from its dreamy beginnings and Mae’s voice gets down and dirty, the quiet and clever ‘Love Song for Jess,’ with it’s campy recorder hum, and the Sigur-Ros like ambling of ‘Goodbye Paris Motel,’ record crackling and overhead thunderstorm included.
Paris Motel’s genre jumping works for them: Mae’s habit for writing and playing nearly everything on the record is only reasonably expanded to playing every genre as well, and despite the album’s few shortfalls back into convention, it is obvious their stretching works – in this album and perhaps continuously, as their ability to do so bodes well for the future.
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