Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Album Review: Hospitality -Trouble

**and1/2 out of *****
The newest album from Brooklyn's Hospitality is a scattered affair that has mixes of dreamy art pop, 80's electro and stripped down Merseyside beat. Trouble as a whole might feel a bit disjointed but pieces can surprise and worm into the ear.  

The trio (Amber Papini, Nathan Michel, Brian Betancourt) move around the musical dial with ease but have a hard time nailing down a specific sound. The opener "Nightingale" is an engaging track that starts off seesawing like a shanty with bending fish hook lyrics before a piano enters and things swell theatrically. "Sunship" later on the disk takes a similar path but inserts a flute into the mix.

Besides these two though things are mostly stripped down, like the back beating pop of "I Miss Your Bones" which recall's Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)" via Papini's vocal delivery. Her vocal sound and lyrics are pining, for untrue lovers and fleeting thoughts, singing like Feist with a restrained delivery; pretty in a controlled way.

That stripped down feel doesn't work so well on tracks like "Inauguration" or the closing "Call Me After" which both feel like sketches that went unfinished. More successful is "Going Out" which puts the rhythm central via a descending bass line and hand drums while the simple straight up pop of "It's Not Serious" is a real winner. These tracks dealing with flippant relationships both stick around longer then the more nuanced efforts and prove the band has a knack for writing catchy songs.   

The band injects lots of 80's love into things with the keyboard driven "Rockets and Jets" and "Last Words" which pulses pushing electro keys and ends with an intriguing guitar solo. This track in particular calls to mind a less musically fluid Television as the band arts it up in  interesting ways. The nebulous feel of things points to Hospitality still finding their way, and it will be interesting to see where the muse takes them.     

This was a tough one to pin down, certain things stood out as great, others fell flat. Well hit or miss ain't bad. Oh and I love NPR, but if this album feels "more leather jacket" then the reviewer needs to get out and feel some meaty rock and roll.

Support the band here, buy the album here, peep some video below:

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