With artwork taken straight from ‘Saturday Night Fever’s cutting room floor, a wardrobe seemingly robbed from The Osmonds and a frontman (Jeffrey Novak) possessed with the kind of wobbling falsetto that suggests he could harmonise quite nicely with old man Herbert from Family Guy, it’s sometimes hard to take Savoy Motel entirely seriously.
But this is 2016 baby, and these days our 70s references come slathered in so much pomp and preposterousness, they’re basically one pair of platform shoes away from a pisstake – just ask Foxygen or The Lemon Twigs if you’re not convinced.
Often this is a fabulous thing, such as on the sassy shoulder shimmy of ‘Doctor Cook’ or the frankly ludicrous ‘Western Version Boogie’ – a funk odyssey through slap bass, strings and the kind of strut last heard on the soundtrack to ‘Shaft’. In fact, in isolation (or small batches at least), most of ‘Savoy Motel’ is all kinds of fun. ‘Sorry People’ is all call and response swagger while ‘Mindless Blues’ is a space age jam session fuelled by Royal Trux.
Put it all together, and listening to Savoy Motel’s debut in its entirety can leave you struggling, wondering if you’ve accidentally left the album on loop and yearning for something – anything – that doesn’t begin with a bassline boogie. Savoy Motel may be playfully enjoyable nostalgists, but sometimes it’s nice to come back to 2016.