The Explorers Club
Grand Hotel


1.0
awful

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
February 13th, 2012 | 39 replies | 8,287 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fans of Jet and Wolfmother, brace yourselves. It’s about to get ugly in here.

Before I go off on a tirade about how The Explorers Club became a complete fraud, allow me to preface this by stating that 2008’s Freedom Wind actually wasn’t bad. While the transparency of their Beach Boys idolizing was utterly ridiculous, it was a passable record because not only was every track expertly produced and exceptionally catchy, but there was this lingering trace of alternative-styled individuality that gave rise to the belief that The Explorers Club could, at some point in the future, develop an album that wasn’t pure mimicry. As most of us looked the other way and indulged the guilty pleasure, the band was hard at work making Grand Hotel – something that should never have seen the light of day if only one person in the five piece outfit had the courage to stand up and call bullshit.

It doesn’t matter how talented the members of any hypothetical band are. If your music is a stenciled version of another well-known, widely acclaimed, and historically revered act – and you don’t eventually develop some artistic fucking curiosity and endeavor for an identity that is your own – you will end up like Jet or Wolfmother. For some reason unbeknownst to the enlightened half of the music community, they thought that they could be the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, respectively. Were their debuts a refreshingly nostalgic vacation from the modern music scene? Maybe. It depends on who you ask. But when they came back with their second (or god forbid third, in Jet’s case) album spewing more of the same retro-happy drivel, everyone got fed up and bailed – unless you are that die hard fan still patiently waiting for Wolfmother’s follow-up to Cosmic Egg, in which case good for you! Here we observe The Explorers Club, and unfortunately, they have come down with a god awful case of the think-they’re-the-Beach Boys. I’m no doctor, but after hearing Grand Hotel my prognosis is that the condition is terminal.

As a listener, it is generally important that you try to see beyond a band’s influences. After all, very few things left in music are completely original anymore. Unfortunately, even with all glaringly obvious inspirations generously brushed to the wayside, Grand Hotel is still a colossal failure. Unlike Freedom Wind, it is not memorable or infectious in the slightest. One track rolls into another with indifference, falsetto choruses are haphazardly tossed all over the place, and there is this annoyingly upbeat – almost “chirpy” – pervading atmosphere that seems to suggest that The Explorers Club couldn’t be happier about wasting your time. The lead single, ‘Run Run Run’ makes a rather sloppy attempt at channeling the band’s inner Dion & the Belmonts, but collapses under the overbearing weight of its ultra repetitive chorus, which consists of the song’s title being repeated over and over again. ‘Anticipatin’ meanders for several minutes before erupting into Brian Wilson-esque high pitched vocals, which marks one of the album’s only highlights despite its discord with the rest of the song. The title track is an instrumental parade of unnecessary orchestration, which in its upbeat nature ends up sounding like either a Mexican-themed fiesta or a circus gone terribly wrong. The second half of the album almost fares better, with the romantic ballads ‘It’s No Use’ and ‘It’s You’ offering brief glimpses of redemption through their scaled down production and focus on the at times beautiful vocal harmonies. But alas, the presence of tracks such as the overly rambunctious but substance-lacking ‘I’ve Been Waiting’, along with the completely cheesy ‘Summer Days, Summer Nights’, decimate any hope that begins to sprout.

The main problem with most of the songs on Grand Hotel stem from The Explorers Club’s inability to moderate pretty much anything. The Beach Boys worshipping is so blatant that it begs another mention, but at an even more fundamental level, they simply can’t seem to figure out when to tone things down. The album is absurdly jovial, and the simple fact that no sane person in the world is that goddamned happy should have raised a few red flags when they stopped to listen to what they were playing. The whole thing reeks of zealousness taken to an extreme, as if they heard their parents’ favorite records when they were thirteen and were given a complete set of instruments and Prozac. More variation in the song structures would have helped, but it is not like altering the tempo would have made this effort a resounding success, either. They simply need a wider range of ideas, along with emotions to go along with them. Past albums by the band have always seen them teetering on the edge, but they managed to remain grounded…unfortunately, here they have finally floated away – with smiles on their faces and copies of Pet Sounds in their hands. Just like their “throwback” peers before them, the sophomore record marks doom for The Explorers Club. And as for that Grand Hotel, I recommend an early checkout.



Recent reviews by this author
The Rentals Lost In AlphavilleLow Roar 0
Imogen Heap SparksThe Rosebuds Sand + Silence
Owl John Owl JohnAstronauts Hollow Ponds
user ratings (7)
Chart.
2.2
poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2012



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/spinner#/12

If you want to wonder where 45 minutes of your time went, click here!

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
February 13th 2012



4507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sounds kind of interesting despite how hard you bashed out. Pretty funny they actually made the cover's physical apperance look like it's from 1966

Sanders
February 13th 2012



2345 Comments


Enjoyed the Recommended by Reviewer section, won't be checking this out

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2012



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Sounds kind of interesting despite how hard you bashed out


Yeah I mean no matter how much I dislike something I still always recommend that people decide for themselves

Ire
February 13th 2012



41754 Comments


aw sowing

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2012



20857 Comments


Aussie-basher.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2012



10080 Comments


2/13/2012: The Day That Sowing Lost Control

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

tommygun
February 14th 2012



24650 Comments


Jet and Wolfmother deserve it Davey, both awful bands

Digging: Broods - Evergreen

Satellite
February 14th 2012



20728 Comments


monkeypeeinginhisownmouth.avi

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Beachcoma
February 14th 2012



526 Comments


need this

gabethepiratesquid
February 14th 2012



4521 Comments


"monkeypeeinginhisownmouth.avi"
Still one of my favorite reviews ever.

Acanthus
February 14th 2012



9537 Comments


Sounds like a train wreck, really enjoyed reading the review though.

Tyrael
February 14th 2012



20829 Comments


their previous effort was okay

but I'm not checking this

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2012



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I was actually sorta excited for this. Freedom Wind had a lot of great songs, some of which I still listen to ("Forever" in particular). But this is hippie bilge.

Tyrael
February 14th 2012



20829 Comments


awful cover art too

but nice review as always

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2012



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Yeah I agree. I saw that and almost decided not to even listen.

Thanks bro, when are you going to give me another indie pop review as good as the Coeur De Pirate one?

foreverjohndeered
February 14th 2012



897 Comments


album rocks

Jellingman
February 14th 2012



357 Comments


Ouch! The cover art does kinda smell of a 1/5 though.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2012



4507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agreed with everything you said, but I had some fun with this.

Tyrael
February 14th 2012



20829 Comments


Thanks bro, when are you going to give me another indie pop review as good as the Coeur De Pirate
one?


I have a Be OK review coming up ;], I was shocked it didn't have one already



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy