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Hotel Books have evolved substantially over the past year and a half. With better mixing, a stronger sense of direction, and with far more emphasis on the instrumentation, the band has really built upon their beautiful atmospheric and ambient soundscapes. As a result they have really come into their own now.
The four-piece’s new double EP, ‘I’m Almost Happy Here, But I Never Feel At Home‘ (but we’ll call it an album for the sake of argument) is a fantastic compilation of beautiful instrumentation and heart-on-your-sleeve emotion. The first three songs, ‘Lose One Friend‘, ‘Lose All Your Friends‘ and ‘Lose Yourself‘ are all passionate, ambient, and utterly enjoyable. These three perfectly embody this new chapter in the band’s sound.
The basis of the group’s style is the clean ambient guitar tones and vocalist Cameron Smith’s spoken word and screams. You can really hear the passion, the grit, and the honesty in Smith’svoice as he bares a lot of his personal thoughts. His voice, often shaking and wavering, doesn’t come from a lack of inexperience, but rather, through an abundance of honesty and emotion. This makes the listening experience that much richer.
The rest of the band do shine as well. Drummer Daniel Colasanto keeps things simple, but suitable and tight for the sake of the music. Guitarist Jordan Leal creates such beautiful melodies, and they compliment Smith’s vocals and the rest of the arrangements so well.
The band cover a lot of different themes in their songs. With the religious and materialistic connotations in ‘Dreaming or Sinking‘ and ‘Cult Leader‘, while ‘Lungs‘ criticises those who follow others blindly. However, some of the prevalent themes the Hotel Books have always had is loss, heartache, remorse and regret. These run deep within ‘Constant Collapse‘, ‘Two Eight One‘, ‘Nicole‘, ‘America’s Next Model‘ and ‘Car Crash‘. Be warned, if you’ve just been through a break up, then these songs will hit you like a ton of bricks. The rest of the band really step up here to match the very personal meanings of the songs with beautiful accompanying instrumentation.
One of InVogue Records’ most exciting bands, Hotel Books have written their most cohesive and their most fluent release to date. ‘I’m Almost Happy Here, But I Never Feel At Home’ is a beautiful, spiritual, gut-wrenching yet hopeful 30-minute listen, one that lures you in time and time again.
1. Lose One Friend
2. Lose All Your Friends
3. Lose Yourself
4. Constant Collapse
5. Dreaming Or Sinking
6. Two Eight One
7. America’s Next Model
8. Cult Leader
11. Car Crash