We often turn to music as a means of escapism; every record is a fleeting moment of peace that allows listeners to shed the problems that plague their real lives and find solace in the comfort of understanding. You’re free to be whoever you want to be here and every chorus, verse, and slightly off-kilter dance move allows you to feel less and less like you’re tethered to your struggles as the songs continue. Nashville’s Jet Black Alley Cat are firm believers that music should continue to stay a means for a break — a fact that’s evident throughout their new Motel EP.
Motel often feels like an exercise in world-building; the record starts with a monologue that sets the stage for what listeners can expect to be thrown into as we dive deeper into each of the record’s seven songs. “The Cathedral Monologue” is a soft open with music so gentle and delicate that you can almost immediately feel your stresses start to melt away as we hear a soft-spoken internalized conversation about dreams and reality. The narrator isn’t sure that he’s completely in one or the other and constantly comes back to the idea that this feels like something that he’s lived before, something that he’s dreamed before — and that throws us into the first full-fledged song on the record.
“Miami Baby” feels like if The 1975 had someone in the studio to reign them in; there’s a bombastic and arena-ready vibe to the track that carries you through the coastal-sounds of rich and reverberated guitars and smooth vocals that make an already sugary sweet vocal melody feel like a gift from God, or whatever. You can’t help but get lost in the infectious nature of the track; you’ll lose all inhibition and catch yourself singing and dancing before you know it. In the story being told throughout Motel, this is the pre-game. It’s the high-energy kind of song that helps you get loose and just surrender to wherever the night is going to take you.
“The Motel Interlude” follows suit, and it’s essentially elevator music; it’s harmless and transitionary. “Nightlife,” however, sees Jet Black Alley Cat at their most sensual. There’s a swampy and bass-heavy groove that creeps up your spine and just oozes the kind of sex appeal that comes with dimly lit room and cheap booze. Each verse is a punch-drunk haze that comes before the moment of pure ecstasy that comes from the chorus.
When asked about the record, Jet Black Alley Cat says: “Welcome to MOTEL. For this moment – try to put yourself in the world you dream of most, who you see yourself being, what you see yourself doing, and where you wanna go… Just for now and while this short record lasts, live in that world. This is an EP that came about from not having much and living in cheap motel rooms but always craving more. It’s an EP about being fearless in the next phase of our lives and also an EP about chasing the energy of the beach. Become who you are meant to be and after all of that, just fall in love with summer and being young while doing so.”
Motel will be released on May 25th and can be pre-ordered here.