The Western States Motel

    Painted Birds Flying in the Orange Mirror Sun


    It lacks much of The Western States Motel’s (2006) sepia-lined dead-leaf breezes of autumnal melancholy, but the Painted Birds Flying in the Orange Mirror Sun EP makes up for the missing ghostly ambience by injecting Carl Jordan’s wistful, desert-hewn story-songs with a newfound sense of urgency and eclecticism married to an exuberant musical complexity. These two noisy extremes push the Western States Motel’s music into forming an eardrum-stunned mixtape, one to soundtrack a lonely drive beneath the van Gogh blur of a red-blazed desert twilight.


    Although there’s nothing here quite strong enough to match Western States’ blissed-pop majesty of tracks like “The New E Blues” or “Rows of Homes,” the stungun electronica ripples and pseudo mariachi lines that simmer below the sidewinding guitars and laconic drift of Jordan’s vocals on “Oh World” serve as reminders: You might not be able to forget the band’s previous work, but you won’t be able to get the new songs out of your head, either.

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