Band – Rat Motel
Album / Label – Old Man Winkle / Unsigned
Rating – 6.5 / 10
When I first met Seth Peacock two years ago, he was just 16-years-old and had just founded his band, Rat Motel. The boys were headlining their first show and put on a rowdy display. They had plans on releasing an EP at the end of 2017, but lineup changes put those plans on hold.
Eventually the band was just Peacock on guitars and his younger brother Clayton on drums, with the former also playing drums for local “supergroup” RADATTACK. The album was placed on the back-burner for the time being, but with a year of stewing and perfecting, it has finally arrived.
Peacock describes the band’s current lineup as “a simple guitar and drum setup with a twist – my pedal board is split in two, with one line going to a guitar amp and the other set an octave down into a bass amp.” The group self-recorded and released the EP, titled “Old Man Winkle” at the beginning of the year and we’re here to give you the spin on it.
The album opens with a soft harmonious blend of guitars on Dog. It’s hard to decide whether I want to call it lo-fi or garage, and Peacock himself calls the band “Buzz Rock.” It honestly sounds like something you found in your attic while searching for Halloween decorations. It was released as the first single and is the perfect precursor for what you are about to experience.
Up next we have My Life, which opens up more slowly than the previous number, but features a healthy dose of wailing guitar and organ mixed together. You can tell this would be a loud one live, as Peacock unleashes his signature growl on reverb here. The song is part boogie, part banger, but all rock. Musically it could have been released anywhere from the 1960’s onward.
Track three is titled Stale, which in spite of its name is anything but. It’s a little bit quieter but still has somewhat of a punk flair to it. The song has a groove that wouldn’t be out of place on a surf record, either. The drums skip around, the bass gurgles, and the organ rings out. It would almost be confusing if it didn’t all mesh together so well. Peacock said that for the recording he did everything possible to get “THE sound.”
“Our number one priority is the song – effects and recording tricks are just a means to an end to make sure that song is presented exactly how I want it,” he added.
Up next we have Old Man Winkle, Act I. As I understand it, it’s the story of Rip Van Winkle, except with aliens. Ambition, thy name is Rat Motel. It does have a spacey feel to it, at least as spacey as you can be when you sound like you’re in the back of your dad’s garage, trying not to wake up your neighbors.
Old Man Winkle, Act II picks up where Act 1 left off, slowing down to finish up the story. The energy is dialed back a little, and there’s even a feel of psychedelia in this one. It would seem that Rat Motel is a band out of time, not unlike Old Man Winkle himself.
Lastly there is a bubbly synth outro with a bunch of creepy voices… is that the aliens? It is your imagination? What kind of trip did I just take?
The album bounces around between themes, and after listening to it I can firmly say that it is, well, “buzz” rock. If you only hear it from and outsider perspective, you might mistake its simplistic sound for a lack of complexity, but a deeper listen uncovers a lot of passion and promise from the Peacock brothers.
In my opinion, they could definitely use a professional studio if they wanted to, but I don’t think it would be the same without the garage-y feel that Old Man Winkle has.
- My Life
- Old Man Winkle, Act I
- Old Man Winkle, Act II
Rat Motel – Stale