HESS’ Lamplight Motel is out October 9 on Baby Robot Records. Check out the track “Long Dream” ahead of the release.
Sonically, Lamplight Motel blends ’70s-inspired folk with modern psych-rock and synth-pop, while nodding towards hints of classic R&B and New Wave. On the hazy lead single “I’ll Drive,” HESS pulls influences from folk and funk and wraps them in layers of swirling, Tame Impala-esque psych.
This tension between Lamplight Motel’s laid-back aesthetic and emotionally bare lyrical content results in an album greater than the sum of its already-exceptional parts. The contrast continues throughout the record, such as on “Believer Outta Me,” a stark exploration of religion and faith in the wake of loss inspired by the death of HESS’ grandfather, that opens as a piano ballad before warping into a psych-pop groove complete with 80s-inspired synths, swirling, chorus-heavy guitars and electronic hand claps.
“While I was writing Lamplight Motel, some important people in my life started dying,” says HESS. “I found it was a little helpful for me to feel like they were still around in some way. It helped me deal with the loss, especially with my grandfather. It’s about the process of becoming a believer in something, even if I don’t know what.”