Friday, April 2, 2010


Review by Greg Prato
Circa the early 21st century, many an alt-rock group seemed to be comprised
of seemingly hopeless romantics, wearing their hearts on their sleeves (and
looking like a bunch of "boys next door"). And certainly, the Burning Hotels
fit this description - to a T - as evidenced by their 2010 full-length
debut, Novels. Like quite a few rock bands of yore, on their debut disc the
Burning Hotels lean a tad too heavily on the sounds of other renowned
bands - and in the process, they create tunes that sound akin to the
same-sounding mainstream alt-rock you'd hear blaring when shopping at Urban
Outfitters. On such tunes as the album-opening "Austin's Birthday,"
similarities to the Killers (especially singer Chance Morgan, who often
bears a resemblance to the vocalisms of lead Killer Brandon Flowers) are
noticeable. However, it quickly becomes clear that the Strokes are the
Burning Hotels' main influence. And it's this influence that is prevalent
throughout the disc, especially on such standouts as "Boy or a Girl,"
"Time," and "First Love" - all of which contain some very Strokesy vocals
and guitar work, as well as the Strokes' trademark "subway-racing tempo" (à
la "Reptilia," "Juicebox," etc.). Add it all up, and you're left with an
important question - does this group of Texans bring anything new to the
table? At this stage of the game, the answer is no, due to the
aforementioned "too close for comfort" similarities to other bands. Time
will tell if the Burning Hotels shed their influences and find their own
voice on subsequent albums. And if they do, Novels could be looked back upon
as an important building block.

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