Portland’s favorite dark (and also murdery) indie pop rockers Slutty Hearts established themselves as craft masters with their 2014 EP Bones In The Snow. With consistently lilting rhythms and noir-style lyrics, it wasn’t hard to pinpoint the cause for intrigue. With their new release, No-Tell Motel, though, they’ve taken the rock to a less dark but more aggressive level.
Where Bones In The Snow saw the band pull back on the reins a bit, No-Tell Motel sees them not only drop those reins, but give the horse a spurred kick in the ribs for good measure. It’s a great look for them.
“Animal Things,” the first track released by the group, is an immediate encapsulation of the group’s newly discovered drive. It features punishingly chunky power chords, heavy toms, and plenty of snare riding. The vocals still retain the delightful sulk, but they’re more insistent, pressing the beat forward and daring the rest of the instrumentation to keep up. “Tough” is the closing thing to an upbeat track on the album with its rollicking organ vamp and bouncy chorus, but as with the rest of the album, it still rocks its way into minor tones. “Pulling Ghosts,” the album closer, is a bit of an anomaly. It kicks off with a soft acoustic guitar progression, and ambles its way into a gospel-blues style apex. It’s so starkly different than the other tracks on the album that one can’t help but be charmed. It works, and it works well.
No-Tell Motel is a polished and refreshing update from Slutty Hearts. It demonstrates a versatility and attention to detail that helps make good bands great. Give it a spin and jump on the bandwagon.
– Charles Trowbridge
Slutty Hearts celebrate the release of No-Tell Motel January 15 at Sandy Hut.