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Wolf Motel EP - Roanoke

One of the things I love about music is the many various ways you learn of music. On the radio, through streaming playlists like Spotify’s Discover Weekly, through friends and family, and of course in this modern age of technology and consumerism: advertising!

Roanoke is one such band that I’ve found through advertising (thanks targeted Instagram ads), and the ad focused on their newest EP: Wolf Motel, released in November. While I did first listen to Wolf Motel, I then listened to their 2016 debut eponymous album. And comparing the two, it’s fascinating to see just how much of a leap the band has made in 6 years. They started out as an indie-folk band, and have plenty of good songs in their first album, but they’ve incorporated the rock genre into their sound to evolve their music, now referring to themselves under the genre of “Mystic Rock”.

Wolf Motel is a solid EP, boasting 18 minutes of music within 5 songs, with some leaving much more of an impact on me than others. If You’re Gonna Leave, the first song on the EP, is a strong start, with a catchy chorus by frontman Joey Beesley and a pretty laidback beat, while still feeling like it can be a powerhouse of a song when played in front of an audience live. After I Go is another good song, with the vocals and instruments giving an even better chorus, with the folk-rock sound mixing with some country, which makes sense given that the band is based in Nashville. So Young tries to go a bit harder than the first two tracks, and it’s a nice song to listen to, but it doesn’t leave as much of an impression as the others on the album, feeling a bit repetitive and lacking identity.

When the penultimate song, Reckoning, started playing, I was really excited for it. It starts slow and solid, with some drawn out vocals by frontwoman Taylor Dupuis that give out Chris Isaak vibes. However, throughout the song I was really looking forward to hearing the Reckoning. It’s the longest song of the EP, at nearly five minutes long, and the song never really leads to anywhere. It feels a bit like build up without the payoff.

However, where I have some grievance with some of the songs of Wolf Motel, all grievances are set aside for the final song, Walk On By. This is the song that played on the ad I saw that got me to look up the band on Spotify, and the song is just a great rock hit. The chorus is strong, with Dupuis doing wonders, accompanied by the backing vocals that come in at the perfect moments. It’s the song that I got the most sense of “Mystic Rock” rock out of, and I’ve yet to skip the song when it comes up since first listening to it. Wolf Motel is a fun, short listen, and I’d recommend it, especially to anyone who is a fan of folk-rock or country-rock. Who knows, maybe mystic rock is the next thing for you?


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