Sunday, February 28, 2010

Review: The Burning Hotels - Novels

Friday, February 19, 2010
Review: The Burning Hotels - Novels

The Burning Hotels - Novels
2010, Miss Press Records

Fort Worth, Texas quartet The Burning Hotels bring a delightful mix of
melodic Post-Punk New Wave rock on their first full-length album, Novels,
due in April of 2010. Shades of U2 can be heard at times rising out of the
rich musical tapestry constructed by The Burning Hotels with the help of
mixer Mark Needham (The Killers, Bloc Party).

Novels opens with the dense, compact Rock N Roll of Austin's Birthday. Tight
musicianship and strong production values produce a British New Wave feel.
It's an intriguing open to an album that both excites and disappoints in
equal measure. Boy Or A Girl keeps the same vibe with a quirky sensibility
added in, but by the time The River arrived I'd already begun to suspect
that the sound and dynamic of Novels was a bit too static. On Time, The
Burning Hotels pulled out of the rut, firing up a sound reminiscent of U2.
The energy level rises noticeably on this song as does the tune's virulence,
although lyrically The Burning Hotels don't seem ready to play on the same
fields as U2.

Silhouette is pure melancholic Pop Noir; a highly enjoyable venture that
doesn't so much reflect a change in approach for the band but better framing
of their strengths. The Burning Hotels find a niche here where their low-key
approach works well. Tempo and construction vary widely on Silhouette, and
the band appears willing to take a few more risks. To Whom It May Concern
lives on the strength of a strong chorus. The dynamic is still a bit too
narrow here, but The Burning Hotels at least appear to be trying to stretch
the boundaries a bit. Where's My Girl is pure New Wave Pop with a bit of
commercial edge to it; the sort of tune that will play well live. The
Burning Hotels close with their most vibrant track, One To Five. One To Five
is very catchy; a great ending that will entice listeners back with a great
last impression.

The Burning Hotels exploit a heavily layered wall-of-sound feel on what is
essentially retro New Wave rock on Novels. The effect is wonderful when it
works (and when The Burning Hotels decide to take chances), but can also be
stifling when the band allows themselves to get stuck in a rut. This is more
an issue for production than for the band themselves, as it is often
difficult to hear these sorts of critical points from inside the creation
process. It's the producer's responsibility to shape the overall recording
to avoid both the appearance and reality of complacency of a band. The
Burning Hotels manage to shake things up periodically on Novels, but not
before becoming a bit too settled in established rolls. Novels shows some
real potential; if The Burning Hotels keep pushing they're going to break
through some walls and create some really vibrant music.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about The Burning Hotels at Novels drops sometime in April, 2010, but
you can check out the first single, Austin's Birthday, available as either a
CD or Download from
Posted by Wildy at 7:47 AM
Labels: Bloc Party, The Killers, The U2

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