[sic] Magazine

Hotels – Where Hearts Go Broke

I first became familiar with Seattle’s Hotels back in 2006. They appeared alarmingly out of place with today’s independent music scene and given that they sound variously like Kraftwerk, Devo, Stereolab and The Monochrome Set that’s probably not too surprising. A wonderfully odd album named ‘Thank You For Choosing…’ was the result and it’s still a charming and addictive listen now. Pleasingly, ‘Where Hearts Go Broke’ is an excellent follow-up which draws on the debut’s many strength whilst also expanding their range.

‘Hydra’ is a driving, riveting opener full of Hotels’ key elements: fast, robotic percussion, swirling retro-futurist keyboards and ringing new wave guitar, making it the perfect choice for the single. ‘Near The Desert, Near The City’ enters the fray with its towering crescendo of A.R.Kane’s dreamy production values and a ghostly vocal that only adds to the intrigue. Then comes the doleful ‘Leilani’ and its lovely wordless chorus whilst ‘Port Of Saints’ finds time for some early Echo And The Bunnymen-style guitar work.

‘Kite Fight’ is a typically quirky take on pop music but Hotels do lose their form towards the middle of the record as ‘The Maudlin’ and ‘On The Casino Floor’ resemble mere novelty interludes compared to what’s gone on before. However, the talented quartet quickly recover for the epic, cinematic melancholia of ‘The Heart That Hears Like A Bat’ and by the album’s finale (courtesy of the wistful ‘Flight Of The Navigator’), I was convinced that I had heard one of the best albums of the year.

‘Where Hearts Go Broke’ is a much more consistent album than the Hotels’ debut and is certainly more ambitious in terms of both production and variety. Yet what impresses most is the songwriting, which is less madcap than before and now embraces music that is always melodic and full of romantic longing.



For more from Jon, please read his ‘zine Leonards Lair