Not sure I can pinpoint the exact time this emo revival started – I want to hold up the now sadly defunct Snowing as a strong contender for at least helping it kick into gear (Dowsing as well, heck – take your pick from the Count You Lucky Stars label really). Let’s not forget our own home-grown talent in the form of half the bands on Big Scary MonstersÂ (Algernon Cadwallader, Meet Me St. Louis, Crash of Rhinos to name a few) for all wearing there feelings on the outside as they strip them apart and hang them on guitar strings for all to see and hear. The Hotelier (formerly The Hotel Year) have been kicking around for a few years now, and Home, Like Noplace Is There is their second album, but first under the new moniker. So why should you care? In the growing emo revival scene, what makes The Hotelier stand out from the pack? It’s the splintering, raw emotion pumped into the 9 tracks that make up Home… for one thing and the cathartic, honesty that flows forth through the shrill, crunching chords to the howling, overlapping vocal yelps and bitter lyrical content.
Opening track An Introduction To The Album sets a vibe that reminds me of Saves The Day – earnest vocals, a sprinkling of piano, a note of dejection and sorrow in both the voice and the guitars as they slowly fade in. “I felt wrong in many ways…” croons vocalist Christian Holden, who is teetering between being irreparably broken and a drink away from being okay. Holden’s screams are soon drowned by the wall of crashing cymbals and battered chords as he bellows himself hoarse, before the sudden cut…
Home, Like Noplace Is ThereÂ is emotive punk rock fed through the angst machine and out the other side.
We’re back to delicate chords as it melds into the second track, The Scope Of All This Rebuilding, which sounds like early Brand New, bridging the gap between Your Favourite Weapon and Deja Entendu.Â A stop-start tempo-change of overlapping gang-vocal cries, scrambled guitars and zealous drumming, The Hotelier pummel through 2 and a half minutes of blistering emo-punk that’s shouted to the heavens.Â In Framing, is a speed-run of call-and-response vocal trade-offs over a driving slab of exhilarating, optimistic pop-rock that you will love and weep over in equal measure. The sombre-mood shifting ofÂ Your Deep Rest reminds me ofÂ Brand New’s Jaws Theme Swimming;Â full of angst and tense feelings, the angular scrappy rock approach suits Holden’s vocals, which are laced with traces of sour distaste. “I called in sink from your funeral, the sight of your body made me feel uncomfortable…”Â utters Holden, his words adding weight and poignant despondence and heightening the already emotionally tense content to new levels of wretchedness.
The Â barbed, scratching energy of Life In Drag channels the snapping emotion of La Dispute, whilst Holden’s vocals are a gravelly, serrated bark of vitriol and snarling angst. Â This is Â pacey and rampant punk rock brimming with fear of the unknown and cleansing rage; standing out as strong contender as the best track on Home...due to it’s scrappy and fiery nature. The crunching power-chords of the upliftingÂ Housebroken are devastatingly beautiful and raw; “well your heart has spoken…I feel you’re already housebroken…” declares Holden, screaming the last word with purging zeal under a wall of exhilarating drumbeats and elated guitar lines. Discomfort Revisited is more rage, but rather than spat under a hail of frantic punk, it’s channelled through a filter of staggered, angular post-hardcore, nailing The Hotelier’s abrasive and melancholy crossover to maximum effect.
Home, Like Noplace Is There is emotive punk rock fed through the angst machine and out the other side. The Hotelier have crafted nine songs of crisp, warm, devastating music that holds up the words REAL FEELINGS ONLY PLEASE in massive letters for the world to see/hear/experience. You want heart? Check in here please and make this your new home.