Review Summary: A light that may yet grow brighter, and will definitely never go out
Pop Punk is a scene that's been seeing another massive revival in the past few years. For fans of the genre like myself this exhumation is a two sided coin, because although the bands they love are getting more attention and momentum a lot of overproduced artists have essentially ruined the credibility of the music to most. The Hotelier is one of the few bands who manage to stand on the shoulders of contemporary giants like The Wonder Years and State Lines while maintaining a unique sound and style. After changing their name from "The Hotel Year" to their current moniker in anticipation of their second LP, they've managed to stir up some interest in the fans of their first album. Most would say the interest is deserved, considering the content of their first full length. After releasing only a modest but solid seven song EP in 2009 that made very few ripples in the scene, many people were surprised at the relative behemoth released by them in 2011.
From the first power chord in the aptly named opener "Our Lives Would Make a Sad, Boring Movie," it's understood that you're in for some captivating and at the very least interesting music. As the song progresses it only serves to prove that feeling right with its satirical words and intrinsic imperfections. One of the defining factors of It Never Goes Out
, though, is it's replay value and ability to grow. With each ensuing listen, the good moments seem to become better and the moments you may have missed before become quintessential. An album streaked with sonic diversity while never getting especially adventurous, It Never Goes Out
has something in it to attract nearly every fan of pop punk or emo. With lyrics like "To the schools that brought us up and had us 'socialized', teaching us the world through hall passes and single file lines," they deliver the angsty biting lines expected and craved by many while standing a step or two above the rest with their depth and strive for meaning. Moments of lyrical greatness are found nearly everywhere, with from "Our Lives Would Make A Sad, Boring Movie" where the above quote is found being a standout example. Another solid lyrical track is "Weathered," where the band sings "It was love. It was true love, not that *** sold from Hallmark, Hollywood, or Wal-Mart. I'm losing twelve years worth of soul mates, and its harder and realer than anything I've ever felt" in a way that you can't help but relate to.
Musically, The Hotelier succeeds in building atmospheres to aptly suit their songs and keep their music interesting while not succumbing to the stagnation many groups archetypal of the genre seem to be overcome with. Where many groups tend to fall either into the decidedly poppy area of the genre or the much more hardcore other end of the spectrum, this group manages to stay on the fence with their share of heavier riffs and plenty of yells while retaining an admirable pop sensibility. Although the vocals have a tendency to get a little rough and the guitar has slight slip ups, it's those moments that become redeeming qualities after repeated listens. The passion behind the music is nearly constant and you can tell with every word and strum that they really believe in what they're singing. That said, the album does have its share of shortcomings. "Vacancy" in particular serves no purpose in furthering the album and while not being a bad track serves to hold back the rest of the album as a cohesive whole. Even considering this, It Never Goes Out
is undoubtedly a sorely overlooked release with a quality unparalleled by most of their peers.
Deep, angsty lyrics
Grip on tension and atmosphere
Vocals are not for everyone
Recommended tracks: "Our Lives Would Make A Sad, Boring Movie", "Weathered", "Holiday", "Still-Water Spectacle", "Title Track (There Is a Light)"