Review Summary: Four punch-packing tracks from some heartbroken Philly kids whose punches probably pack less actual punch than those of their ex-girlfriends.
According to a cursory google inquiry, Mark Twain once said something along the lines of "if you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." Now, I think the intent of his words was to say that always being honest is a good way to avoid the awkward moment of having to show up on the Oprah Winfrey show and publicly announce to millions of (former) fans that your New York Times best-selling novel is mostly a bunch of crap that you came up with while you were drunk and stoned. However, I think there's additional truths to be dug up from Mr. Clemens' (I guess the hypocrite lied and was forced to remember his pseudonym for all his days) wise observation; that is, that honesty is cathartic and that honesty is forgetful. This
is where Hightide Hotel capitalizes and does so in a big way with their debut EP, Porch Luck
These crestfallen Philadelphia-natives have truly turned their collective heartache into something beautiful with their debut, starting with opener 'The Tender and the Terrible', a song that would later be remastered and included on their first LP. The instrumentation carries the same convictions as the songwriting, with just the right amount of angst revealing itself under the guise of twinkly and bright yet surprisingly complex guitar lines. The true beauty of the track, much like that of most good emo ballads, is in the heartfelt songwriting of a kid who's just a little too young to be so broken, and Hightide Hotel's consistent ability to evoke this powerful and relatable feeling cements them atop my "bands worth feeling bad for" list. "I was searching your bedroom for any signs of life/abandoned books and dusted keepsakes were all that I could find,
" rings the chorus of 'I Know What the Word Gone Means'. Shit, I don't think I've ever been in love and even I feel better after singing along - the cathartic nature of Porch Luck
reaches its hand out to any listener and begs them to revel in its youthful emotion and charm. With every candid word put to paper, it seems it becomes that much easier for these guys to trivialize and forget about the painful past. The effect is truly magnetizing, and it becomes so easy to get lost in the vocalist's choppy narratives as if they were your own.
's appeal to its audience's emotion finally climaxes and boils over during its self-titled track: "It didn't help at all, that I'm the one you call/it doesn't help me like I know it helps you.
" Hell, we've all
been there, even misogynistic me, at that moment when the girl you like calls to complain about other guys and to seek out your advice on the matter. Yeah it fucking stings, but Hightide Hotel
channel this sting into a beautifully melancholic closing track, and one which almost anyone can relate to. Yet, through all the ups and downs (mostly the latter) of it all, the trio maintains their energetic and almost lighthearted instrumentation. Even as the singer wails and moans about, a shred of hope for better days ahead remains in the music. Our beloved hypocritical Twain knew a little something about this too:
"But it is a blessed provision of nature that at times like these, as soon as a man's mercury has got down to a certain point there comes a revulsion, and he rallies. Hope springs up, and cheerfulness along with it, and then he is in good shape to do something for himself, if anything can be done."
So let your own hope spring up - rally with Hightide Hotel
and get lost in something other than your bottle. You've got nothing to lose, aside from a mindful of painful memories.