Sunday, June 09, 2024

Grab Your Room Key, It’s Time To Check In With Strawflower’s Debut Album: ‘Greeting From The Stardust Motel’

If you are looking for an album that has songs written like vintage postcards found at thrift shops that unveil the writer's most authentic observations, thoughts, and feelings, all the while the stories are wrapped in a blend of surf and garage-rock, folk, country, and indie, 'Greetings From The Stardust Motel' by Strawflower, is the album for you. 

The debut LP by the Los Angeles band is one to add to your indie radar, as it's full of beautiful instrumentation and storytelling. It's a solid debut to launch the band further into the world of indie/alternative lovers, as their sound is comforting, heartfelt, and captivating - you'll find yourself swaying your hips to their squeeze of optimism in melancholic moments. 

'Haunting of the Hollywood Hills' as the first track on the album, is an interesting choice as it is drastically different in sound in comparison to the songs; you'll hear an eerie psychedelic scape with a gritty guitar as they detail the narrative from a third person point-of-view a story of someone understanding the circumstances around them: the Hollywood atmosphere looming over them that trickles into understanding themselves within it. 

A theme throughout the album is the adventure of looking at something new and reflecting on how you find your place within it. In the first track, it is more of the feeling of whether this situation is even actual, the weather feels strange, taking too much of it in, a party is extremely loud - the elements of falling into it and getting wrapped up in it before it comes toppling down in a haunting nature. 

As the next postcard sent, 'Tiki Bar' is sung, the surf rock vibe continues but becomes more evident, suiting, if we say, for a song titled 'Tiki Bar'. Understanding the album's theme, we move into a song that would follow up the high of a new profound self, the aftermath of the ruins of what was left behind. In this case, it's a setting of a scene of moving on in a tropical manner that aims to make it lighter and encourages the two former lovers to understand how their lives have been intertwined, have moved along and have spoken promises of change. Still, they somehow know they've stayed mostly the same behind their eyes. "Strangers out of time, waiting for infinity in the dark" such lyrics captures the bittersweetness of acknowledging they've shared love and want love. However, they do not come from each other. It's a note on the forms of moving on and the way that love has a cycle that you need to find a way to work with it and each other afterwards to attempt to get a sense of closure, or you'll continuously be questioning why you're not finding the love you need for yourself or from others. 

That's where 'Burned Blue' takes over, further pushing the storyline of figuring out who to give your heart out to and when as delicate glossy guitars play throughout the tune, mimicking the delicate approach to this new situation. "I wanna know, how far could it go if I let myself go for you" allows us to slip into their mindset of feeling on the edge of wanting to touch a blue flame and hoping that this person continues to burn brightly - and as blue is the hottest part of the flame to keep it warm and not burn them in the end. Yet with the lyric "waiting for you to come home" after being told that their person of interest doesn't love another, the question remains of where they truly go in their thoughts - do they love them or not. 

Then in songs like 'Television' that search for a distraction, "I need new beginnings, I need life worth living" and "I need television, I need a new religion, to fight the wave that's crashing down on me" indicate the pressure of moving on and finding a sense of peace within themselves and in their environments. Written like a postcard to a friend seeking a desperate life change, this song shows how distractions can only last until change is sought. 

This album explores the ups and downs of self-discovery in and out of love, identity, and closure in quite beautiful picturesque allusions as heard in 'Indigo' and 'Hummingbirds'. By the time you get to the title track 'Stardust Motel,' you've checked into an experience that will have you reflecting on how you see yourself and others in the evolutions of life, love, seeking to be known and to know, and the quest of finding peace. You'll see the true beauty in this album, powered with gentle vocals that will lull you into staying, and see why this is one of our favourite stories on repeat. 

Tyra Baker


Image: ‘Greetings from the Stardust Motel’ Official Album Cover

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