Cold Showers hinted they were becoming a more sophisticated band with the spacious synth pop of 2015's Matter of Choice, a process they continue on their second album, Motionless. Recorded in their own L.A. studio with guitarist Chris King producing, Motionless replaces Matter of Choice's breezy feel with a much darker, denser vibe. The tempos are slower, and hazy shoegaze guitars that hark back to their 2012 EP Love and Regret settle over the album like smog. Frequently, this heft suits the band's subject matter. On the equally bleak and lush "Tomorrow Will Come," singer/bassist Jonathan Weil intones the titular chorus with the opposite of optimism over grinding guitars and droning synths, while the drums on "Dismiss" add some extra punch to its careening post-punk heartache. Many of Motionless' best songs are also the prettiest: "Shine" is fittingly radiant, folding beaming synth arpeggios and saxophones into its celebration of the moment; "Sinking World" makes the most of Weil's brooding yet conversational vocals; and the graceful title track evokes the complicated romance of New Order. The album's second half is stronger than the first, thanks to more dynamic songs such as "Faith" and quirky, ambitious moments like the sultry cover of Sandy Rogers' 1985 single "Black Sidewalk" and "Every Day on My Head," which closes the album with surprising twists and turns that are carried by its sense of longing. Even if it's not quite as effortless as Matter of Choice, Motionless reflects Cold Showers' ongoing musical growth.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares