Zed Motel – Leave with nothing – EP Review

Zed Motel, a band I’ve seen quite a few times around Swansea over recent years and reviewed once or twice before as well, I didn’t even know they had a new EP out till they messaged me – that’ll be those wonderful social media algorithms for you trying to force money out of bands, but that’s a rant for another time though. Anyway, I was happily surprised to see the link drop in to my inbox and have given it a few listens over the past week or so to try and get a good feel for it. Once again this is another step forward for Zed Motel, a bigger fuller sound, better songs, chunkier riffs and nicer grooves.

The opening track of this 6 track EP “My Design” starts off nicely, teasing a little at first with the intro and a nice stomping groove as the riff kicks in before settling in to a good catchy melody with a solid groove to keep it moving, I’m liking the more prominent use of dual vocals on this, I’m always a fan of layering up vocals and Zed motel are doing it well here. There’s still plenty of space in the verses though which makes the chorus kick all the more when it crashes in. nice start, its a good energetic riffy opener.

“Ramshackle” follows on nicely from the opener its a more energetic start and definitely sounds a bit darker and sleazier, it has a bit more of the “garage rock” feel the band describe themselves as having, although this whole EP has a far more well produced sound than most garage rock bands. There’s more of those dual vocals on the chorus of this tune, and its definitely dual vocals rather than just adding a backing vocal, this can only be a good thing in my book as they work well together, more of this please

We’re on to the third track and its the single I reviewed many months back “ Domino” it fits in nicely with the other tunes so far whilst also adding a bit of variety, more of those big sounds. looking at my previous review of this single I commented on how the drums sound like they’re being hit properly, by which I meant good and hard, playing like he means it, and I have to say, I still agree with previous me – unsurprisingly I often do. The same can be said for the whole of this EP the big sounds dont just come from the guitar. This song is a sweeter melody than the previous track but like I said, that adds a nice bit of variety to the collection of tunes.

Track 4 is “Hammerhead” and after a short guitar intro the drums come in with a nice disco sort of vibe that along with the noisy guitar ups the party feel for a few bit before the song drops into a far more stripped back verse which then builds nicely in top a stomping chorus as the song builds towards a nice driving post chorus that lifts the song well and then a repeat of that intro disco party section. They’re really working the dynamics well on this one, which if you’ve read anything I’ve written before you know I approve of very much, its got energy and space in the right places

“Mirrorball” is the penultimate track and its a nice contrast in feel to the others, it kicks straight in with a bouncier more poppy groove from the off, its still very much Zed Motel just more upbeat feeling – at least to start with – the chorus has a more familiar feel to it as those extra vocals come in, its a catchier tune this one with a nice vocal melody in the verse and plenty of energy, driving it along with more of those stomping drums

The final track of this EP is a song called “Scratched” that starts with a nice staccato riff and groove and some well placed but simple vocal harmonies, leading into a stripped back verse before smashing in to a brief but big and catchy chorus, it may be the last tune but its probably my favourite so far, they’re working those dynamics really well again, especially when they leave the vocals bare with no accompaniment for a really effective drop right before the chorus kicks in. there’s some nice QOTSA style guitar bends and noises in the post chorus too that add a good bit of texture to the tune, its a good strong finish to the EP. Good work

“Leave with nothing” is a good collection of tunes, its well produced and got a nice big sound, I believe it was recorded by James Weaver at his studio who seems to be doing a very good job of some well polished sounding recordings that have been sent my way and from the times I’ve met him is a very nice bloke too, which is always good. Anyway back to the songs, this EP is worth checking out, its a good solid but simple rock band doing things well, there’s some nice riffs that interact well with some really good solid pounding drumming that powers the songs along. There’s no bassist in this band but they don’t really miss it, there’s quite more and more bands out there doing the guitar / drums / vocal thing out there these days and Zed motel are a good example of the slicker smoother side of it, there’s some darker sounds but with plenty of energy and groove to it, and they work the dynamics of the tunes really well and aren’t afraid to leave space for the songs to breath a bit so they can hit harder when they need to. good work guys.

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