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Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Burning Hotels
The Burning Hotels - Novels
May 13, 2010 by David Smith
Category: Albums (and EPs)
The Burning Hotels
The Burning Hotels captures a sound that was all the rage a few years ago:
that of Bloc Party, Interpol, Strokes, and so on. It reminds you of how
quickly tastes change. That's probably a good thing for music generally
because it means that we're constantly getting new innovations. But it means
that the shelf life of any recording is subject to short periods of hype and
long periods of "ah, yes, back then." reflections.
It's hard to tell whether The Burning Hotels represent a continuation of the
early 00's indie-rock sound, or whether it's already been long enough that
an album like Novels should be considered a resurrection of the form. In any
case, The Burning Hotels would have probably gotten a music-mag cover or two
had it been present at the watershed. With a few notable exceptions, the CD
sounds a bit "old hat" coming out in 2010.
One of those exceptions is "Where's My Girl", which packs a lot of energy
into its 3 minutes. Opting for some unusual syncopation for its verses, the
song speeds along smartly with Braid-like stop/start moments in its C and D
sections. "Where's My Girl" shows the band making the most of its
influences: sharp guitar, rapid-fire drumming, laid-back and catchy vocals.
"To Whom It May Concern" and "Hey" similarly make the band sprint, staying
away from some of what doomed Interpol in later years (plodding songs that
seemed directionless). Musically, though, there's not a lot of novelty.
Of course, songs like "French Heart Attack" and "Boy or a Girl", with its
foreshortened measures, hold their own against the stuff that Editors et al.
were doing on their first/best records. That's to say, the band knows what
it's doing and does it well. Clearly talented and occasionally inventive,
The Burning Hotels might well follow up with something more extraordinary
and distinguishing. Let's hope that The Burning Hotels breaks from the past
and doesn't follow the Bloc Party trajectory of increasingly irrelevant