steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Motel Candlewasters

"Hierarchy of Hoaxes" CDR

Access To Visions Records

Genres: lo-fi, indie pop

email the band

Aug 7 - 13 2004

At first, Hierarchy of Heroes, the debut album for the Boston-based Motel Candlewasters, sounds boring and annoying.  Lo-fi pop music has become so abundant that there's no excuse for uninteresting product.  However, just when you're about to give this disc its life assignment as a coaster, the appeal begins to shine through.

The songs on this album take the wise route in terms of composition - instead of loud, cluttered pieces, The Motel Candlewasters keep their songs simple and charming.  Although it takes awhile to get accustomed to their formula (partially because Hierarchy starts with the utterly painful "Starts With A Letter"), many of these tunes are quite pleasing due to their infectious songwriting and interesting, intelligent lyrics.  "Like Boo Radley Did," for example, is a memorable ditty laying campfire vocals over a blanket of minor-key acoustic guitar.  The lyrics are largely image-based, although sweetly so.  "I Promise To Leave You Alone" is also quite endearing; its melody is very unconventional, based on an electronic keyboard part.  Although the vocals are far from professional, they work well with the bedroom recording feel - all in all, its a very original brand of pop music.  "Year of the Cough" and "Island Bowl" are also quite rewarding, accessible listens, but The Motel Candlewasters save the best for last; "Ends With An Anthem" represents the essence of lo-fi pop - not only is its conclusive chorus a treat, but the whole thing is as catchy as can be imagined.  It is basically just a long verse that builds to a climactic finale, but somehow it works incredibly well - the vocalist's earthy pitch-shifting really helps out.

So I ended up enjoying this album much more than I originally expected to.  It starts off slow, and takes some adjusting to, but overall Hierarchy of Hoaxes is an incredibly rewarding and catchy listen.  The critic has been satisfied.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 17 tracks + 2 hidden, distributed by the band, released 2003]