Sunday, 19 May 2019

Single: Montauk Hotel - White Billboards

Montauk Hotel - White Billboards
Photo: Declan Kelly

'White Billboards' is a reflection on the power of advertising on in our society and how models and standards influence our choices, happiness and feeling of adequacy. The song pictures an imaginary future where as an result of over-saturation, people have become indifferent to commercial models. Advertisers and brands have run out of slogans and have lost their impact on people and society.

There is a question left open, which whether a society with empty billboards would indeed set us free to be happy or whether it would leave us lost and unable to regain a personal identity.

I love this premise for the latest single 'White Billboards', from Dublin jangle-pop outfit Montauk Hotel, it is the dystopian futures of Huxley and Orwell in reverse, where instead of humanity becoming more imprisoned, it is liberated.

With the intro you know that Montauk Hotel's sound has now become irrevocably noticeable over the last few years, even before the vocal joins in. Guitar and percussion are, just like the theme, upbeat, positive and of a sunny, hopeful disposition. 

The band could easily have stayed within the structure of the track for its entirety and the listener would have been more than happy, but lo and behold Montauk surprise us with a moving break at the 2:22 mark, lead-singer Claudia Verdecchia briefly pauses while a wonderfully deep bass-line pops up and is joined almost immediately by thundering bass-drum and stirring harmonies before closing. Consistently good and thoughtful song-writing, plus an ever-expanding musical landscape are what have seen Montauk Hotel's arc continue to rise upwards, long may that continue.