The Burning Hotels
Who knew the best modern post-punk wouldn't come out of New York, L.A. or
London, but DFW?
Steadily dominating the Southwest, The Burning Hotels had a solid EP under
its belt, along with a guest appearance in the movie "Bandslam," but it
outdid itself with its full-length debut, "Novels."
Part youthful exuberance and part sophisticated restraint, "Novels" is
brimming with angular rock hooks and airy pop drifts that float down like a
balloon onto a bed of nails, coming to a rest right before it bursts.
Most astonishingly is how quick the band has built something so lean and
tight; "Novels" leaves no room for anything other than joyous rock riffs and
tucked-in pop anthems.
To give a bit of context, take the zagging hooks of Bloc Party ("To Whom It
May Concern"), morose new wave of Interpol ("The River") and vintage rock
melodies of The Strokes ("French Heart Attack") and you've got the basis for
The Burning Hotels.
Fittingly, where those three bands all faltered on their third discs is
where The Burning Hotels picks up, making for a thick slice of post-punk
It makes no short order of launching into it, rocketing off with the
blistering "Austin's Birthday" and zipping "Boy Or A Girl." With the
occasional ballad ("Silhouette") lodged between, "Novels" races at breakneck
speed through an endless stream of poppy earbugs that won't leave your head
Perhaps most remarkable is how intricate and detailed each song is without
being overwhelmed by its structure. The band rallies each song with an
arsenal of quick-as-a-bullet chord progressions and regimented rhythm
changes that are executed to the T.
The cuts in "French Heart Attack" and "Hey" are Pine-Sol clean; the echo in
"Time" gives me chills. "Novels" is a perfect example of how tedious efforts
and attention to detail can ultimately lead to an impeccable product.
There's no major misstep to critique, no fault to pick at. "Novels" is not
perfect, but it's pretty damn close.