A little while back I compiled a playlist of albums and bands I had been meaning to look into and this is the first instalment of how I’ve gotten on with them.
The Hotelier – It Never Goes Out
It Never Goes Out, the debut album by the Hotelier (2011) struck me instantly. Though technically this album is not credited to The Hotelier but to their predecessor Hotel Year, a very young form of the band, I think as a first release it’s a fairly important one.
Essentially it’s a modern punk record, tangling itself into ideas of disgruntled youth, teen angst and other ideas you would expect from an alternative band in its infancy. Opening track ‘Our Lives Would Be A Boring Movie’ is hugely catchy and sets the general tone for the album, with the kind of riffs you would expect from a veteran pop punk band and the cliché ‘I hate my town’-esque lyrics which in this formula are very successful.
If this album were anything further than a debut it probably wouldn’t have such a deep resignation, but It Never Goes Out hints at what the Hotelier could be capable of, and there are stand out moments on this album that rival what is left of the ever deflating pop-punk scene today. It’s a hugely enjoyable album, and it glimmers with promise for this band.
The Hotelier – Goodness
Fast forward to 2016 and Goodness, the bands third full length release, is proof of what time to grow and mature does for a band. The songs on this album feel carefully considered, and though the spirit of punk still runs up their backbone, its delivery is far more subtle – which gives The Hotelier a unique sound.The album opens with a spoken word poem recital, which is a bold move for a band who’s fans would most likely be expecting something a little less hippy and a little more edgy and the albums sixth almost purely instrumental track ‘N 43° 33′ 55.676″ W 72° 45’ 11.914″ ‘(one of three co-ordinate named tracks on the record) is so gentle it almost feels like a lullaby. This album is one that is shrouded in tentative positivity, which is refreshing in a world where plenty of outlets seem to have given up caring. It has an unusual ground somewhere between running right outside of the new-emo scene and calling for something different within it’s epicentre. Though there are some stronger tracks than others, this album is truly ambitious; it’s softly defiant and so understated that you would be forgiven for missing all the intricacies if you were to listen to it just once.
For fans of: Foxing, The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, The Wonder Years, Tiny Moving Parts.
I really tried to like Beach Slang. They’ve gained critical acclaim and have a large fan-base who are passionate about their music – so I went in with an open mind and general positive feeling about the band. Their instrumentals are well organised and have just the right level of distortion. The opening track on Broken Thrills ‘Filthy Luck’ is pleasant and definitely attempting to create something different, the band pull a lot more influence out of grunge than I’m used to hearing and initially that was a good thing for me, I was almost sold on their fuzzy guitar parts.
After reading up about Beach Slang I discovered the bands rather colourful history, losing and gaining members amidst controversy. Perhaps that’s why personally I just feel like this is a band that could do so much more. All of their songs seemed to be in the same spirit and sound so similar that I didn’t really get to know any of them due to the lack of complexity. ‘We Are Nothing’ on Broken Thrills made for a nice change in pace, and though the lyrics were rather stereotypical, their delivery was relatively palatable; which brings me to my main issue with Beach Slang – I cannot stand the vocals.
Initially I had quite an interest in James Alex’s rasping voice, I liked that he was doing something a bit unique (which is probably this band’s main point of differentiation from so many others) but after two songs I just couldn’t stomach it anymore. Vocals are always one of the key points in me favouring a band and there’s something about Alex’s voice that puts me on edge, like he’s a drunk guy at the bar desperately whispering into a girls ear. I’m all for the kind of singer that sounds a little sorry for themselves (I grew up in the thriving mid 00’s emo scene after all) but on these tracks I just get a huge sense of self depreciation and negative attitude which stops me feeling any true connection with the songs.
For fans of: The Menzingers, Sorority Noise, Joyce Manor
(In the next week or so I will be writing thoughts about Mom Jeans, PUP, and Modern Baseball’s Holy Ghost + their show at the 1865 in Southampton on Sunday)