Twilight Motel - When the Wolves Go Blind
Henry Miller is quoted as saying that “one’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things”. Travel, or perhaps the sense of dislocation that it engenders pervades the latest album from Twilight Hotel, the musical partnership of Brandy Zdan and Dave Quanbury. Hailing originally from Winnipeg in Canada but now located in Austin, Texas this album is in part the soundtrack of their drive across the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona as they headed to Los Angeles for the recording sessions.
The songs on this album are quiet, thoughtful in nature. Built in just three days, with the songs played live, this would suggest the building blocks of a rawer, more immediate album but these songs show a careful, layered construction principally based on the central duo’s vocals. There’s an Americana folk sensibility to these songs but one that knows when to add buzzsaw guitars to their acoustic roots. The craft displayed in these songs is further demonstration that Twilight Hotel aren’t newcomers but have learned a thing or two since starting to work together some eight years ago.
This is the music of wide open spaces but more so of the people you meet within them and the stories they may tell. The alternative country folk rock songs carry their fair share of melancholia. Quanbury sings of “waking from a dream of letting go”, whilst later in the album Zdan asserts that she has “seen the darkness”. In the hands of some artists this would be edging towards cliched territory but here it simply comes across as haunting.
The sedate rhythms at the core of these songs evoke driving for hours stretching into days across America’s hinterland - giving plenty of time to consider the human condition. Can we listen to the wind? Indeed we can.