Updated: May 12, 2021
Today (12/18/2020), there will be No Vacancy at the Skytop Motel; well, not the actual motel, the band, of course, affectionately and ironically named after the demolished Rockaway NJ dive-motel. Brothers Dan and Owen Taggert and neighbor Ted Orbach have been collaborating ever since their days playing Beatles Rockband on Wii. As the years went on, each member’s musical palettes evolved, Dan into Power Pop, Ted to a heavier experimental side, and Owen into folk but always keeping the foundation that Beatles handed them.
No Vacancy is a product of Skytop Motel’s sound development, incorporating flavors from their first EP to more developed sounds. The band’s percussionist, Orbach, explains that he “like(s) the way that those two phases of (their) sound cross over each other. “Karl’s Lunar Fiasco” is actually the first song (they) ever wrote. It’s 8, old enough to be in third grade now.” By weaving in and out of styles, Skytop Motel steers clear of being in a sonic box while still creating a cohesive collection of songs. No Vacancy begins with “Surfer Suite,” a sunshine and salty air specialty, moves to folksier tunes with guitar precision in “Old Man,” to “Vacancy,” a punk rock tune with Sum 41 vibes and “I’m in Love!” sounding like an ode to Pink Floyd with a vast sonic plane with minimal lyrics.
The trio’s collaborative writing process is evident in how their voices blend into each other with such unity and balance. Dan Taggert, vocalist, and guitarist explains their creative process and how he “came up with the ideas for most of the songs on the album,” while Ted and Owen often join in by jamming and figuring out “structuring and lyrics.” Each member plays a vital role in crafting every tune.
Next on the docket for Skytop Motel will be an EP focusing on their folksy side. Owen Taggert also hints at an upcoming tour (yay!) hopefully in the near future once viable.
Long Story Short: All the separate vibes encompassed in this album work in a consistently interesting way. If you think I won’t have this record on loop for the foreseeable future, think again.