20 Sep 2021
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Motel Midnight - Single Review: Closer

11 Nov 2020 // A review by Kev Rowland

Motel Midnight are Reuben Keeling (vocals, bass guitar), Bruce Ferguson (vocals, guitar), Ben Stanley (synths, beats, production) and they have just produced their debut single, Closer. When asked to describe their music they say they draw their influences from house, hip hop and indie rock, while combining shimmering synths with screaming guitars, fuzzed-out bass and stomping beats. That may well be the case with some of their other songs, which I have not heard, but this one clearly takes me back to the Eighties, and a different genre altogether.

Closer feels like a song which is more linked to Bronski Beat and Yazoo, with additional influences from Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and even possibly Gary Numan, than what one would associate with hip-hop or indie rock. It has the strong fresh bright synth line which one expects from these bands, especially Bronski Beat and Yazoo, placed against the vocals. The guitar is rarely heard, apart from just before and after the bridge and is often in the background, along with the bass, with the main instruments being very much the synths and the beats. The main vocal line is interesting, with a style which sounds as if it is going to go slightly off key yet never does, while the backing vocals are in a strange falsetto, and the combination really works although I am still not quite sure why. The thing is, while it may seem that I am being negative about this single I confess nothing could be further from the truth, as while I honestly was not a fan of this the first time I played it, this has grown on me immensely. There is a hook within which really grabs the listener, and the vocals seems so very right indeed when placed against the main repetitive synth line.

I do not generally listen to this style of synth-based pop, but there is something compelling about this. It is the sort of song which could be a hit both on the radio and in the clubs, with a fresh naivety which makes it stand out from the pack. It belongs in a different time, from almost 40 years  ago, yet somehow it also feels just right for today. This is well worth investigating and it will be interesting to hear more from this trio.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )
 

About Motel Midnight

Emerging from the smoky neon haze, Motel Midnight have arrived with their own distinctive sound.

Drawing on influences from house, hip hop and indie rock, the New Zealand trio combines shimmering synths with screaming guitars, fuzzed-out bass and stomping beats.  

Who’s that stranger you run to late at night? Why do your eyes always wander? What are your darkest desires? Give in to temptation - check in to Motel Midnight.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Motel Midnight

Releases

There are no releases to display for Motel Midnight.

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