The Burning Hotels: Novels
By Doug Simpson
There must be something about bands with fire-related names: the Flamin'
Groovies, Jason & the Scorchers, the Fiery Furnaces. Now comes Texas
alt-rockers the Burning Hotels. Like those groups, this quartet wears
influences openly, but unlike the aforementioned, the Burning Hotels have
not yet learned to transcend inspirations.
On their first full-length, Novels, the Burning Hotels echo similar and more
famous acts. Post-punk nugget "Austin's Birthday" mimics the Killers, right
down to cloning Brandon Flowers' vocal mannerisms. Standout track "Boy or a
Girl" imitates the Strokes' boom and brash veneer. Melancholic romance
reverie "Silhouette" mirrors Coldplay.
While the Burning Hotels offer danceable alt-rock tunes fronted by sharp
guitars and enthusiastic rhythms, there is a lack of originality that too
often mires the material in the land of caricature. There are worse things
than sounding like the Strokes or the Killers, but hopefully on subsequent
outings the Burning Hotels will find their own voice.