CD Reviews

THE SPIRITUAL MOTELS: Super Tiny Disappearing Oceans

Between warm, golden sunlight and the cool darkness of a new moon’s night, between the soothing sounds of a lullaby and the rude awakening of an alarm clock… between sipping a cup of hot tea sweetened with fresh honey and slamming a shot of smoky mezcal that burns all the way down: this is the place where the Spiritual Motels take me as I listen to their debut album, Super Tiny Disappearing Oceans.

There’s definitely a gloomy aspect to the songs, yet they are filled with a sense of acceptance and sprinkles of hope, which are accented by the instrumentation of each piece. They make me picture days of childhood play and that feeling of freedom from worries combined with the beginning of responsibility and starting to be more careful, like when you know that jumping from that high swing might hurt you, but you do it anyway because it is so much fun and it feels like flying, and eventually you twist your ankle as you land but you get back on the swing anyway to do it all over again… just listen to the whole thing, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

From “Serotonin” to “Mountain Roads,” from “Issues” to “If We Never Land”—just when you think you have this album figured out and you are telling yourself, “Yes, it’s definitely folky,” then “Turn the Searchlight In” comes on and it feels like someone just threw a curve at you when you were least expecting it and it hits you right in the ear (in a good way).  “Cognitive Kids” takes you back to the feeling of children having fun, getting dizzy while singing and dancing around in a circle.  This feeling persists with “Stealing Home,” which even though it has some shades of heartbreak in it, it also conveys that feeling of optimism back into play, as does “Bandaged Up Hearts,” a musically uplifting grownup view of love that takes you through “Fault Lines,” a song that sounds to me like a sad breakup story, but it still makes me bop my head to the melody… I’m still trying to decipher the last song of the album, “The River in Reverse,” so I’ll let each of you figure that one out for yourselves…

Lastly, I have to admit that I’ve always been a sucker for beautiful harmonies, especially male/female ones. Amy Day and Omar Musisko certainly deliver when it comes to my high expectations. Their voices entwine like silk—smooth and strong—and complement each other in a sweet way that I haven’t heard in quite a while, and this makes me happy… very happy indeed.

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