From the moment I was halfway through the first track on Motel Raphaël’s debut album Cable TV, I knew that this was going to be one of my newest musical obsessions. With lyrics that are both hilarious and moving, and harmonies that make my heart bleed oceans, this is a band that I want to see more of in the coming years.
Motel Raphaël is a young, indie-pop-folk band from Montreal, Québec, led by Clara Legault, Emily Skahan, and Maya Malkin. Though they had played together before, this is the first year they have played along with the band’s other four members, including a trumpeter. The band represented Montreal at the national level in CBC’s Searchlight Competition, and have since played a wide array of festivals, including the Montreal Fringe Festival.
The album opens with a song titled “Rooftop of Romolos”, a somewhat silly song about a love and friendship. What initially drew me to this particular track was the way the song begins. With three female singers, you would assume that one would be the lead, and the other two the background vocals, but Motel Raphaël’s singers share the spotlight. The song begins with each singer taking turns to tell the story of the song, before coming together in well-rehearsed harmonies.
What adds to this track are the sound effects used in certain places that made me literally laugh out loud as I was jamming to the song in my car. The song is lighthearted, and can’t help but put a smile on your face.
Other tracks that stood out to me were “Pretty Distractions”, a slower, more thoughtful song about heartbreak and two people falling out of love, and “Ghosts”, which actually has a music video on YouTube. What I wasn’t expecting from “Ghosts” was that it has a second version of the song at the end of the album,“Fantômes”, sung half in English, and half in French. Through this song, you really get a sense of the fact that this album is fan-inspired. The band is from Montreal; of course you need a French song!
What makes the album special is that it was completely funded by their fan base through an Indiegogo campaign. All the money was raised and put towards the album so that this band’s dream could become a reality. It really goes to show that hard work and dedication to what you do really pays off.
The group of girls really do have a unique sound to them while also still having elements of modern pop music. I really like how the vocals of this band are all girls: girls singing with other girls about things that affect girls. The three-part harmonies just sound that much sweeter coming from a group of female singers.
Motel Raphaël is a new, up-and-coming band that I highly suggest everyone take the time to listen to. Give your ears a little break from all the typical Top 40, and listen to Cable TV, something a little more meaningful and heartfelt.