Thursday, January 19, 2023

Hotel Lux tease upcoming album and display musical maturity as they explore new ‘Points of View’

After showcasing their unique brand of rock-punk in one of the most intriguing EPs in recent years, then using football as an excuse to get political in single release ‘The National Team’, Hotel Lux are now on the verge of releasing their much-awaited debut album, ‘Hands Across The Creek’, which is slated to see the light in late January. 

The first taste offered with what’s to come comes in the form of their latest single, ‘Points of View’, a relentless cavalcade of a song packing numerous layers of both sound and meaning in barely three minutes and a half worth of runtime. 

Described by the band as one of the last tracks in the new albums to be finished and yet one of the first demos to be produced, as well as – musically and thematically – a bridge between their past work and the upcoming record, the song elegantly eschews any risk of being ‘neither here nor there’; instead, it cleverly builds on everything the band has done before without rejecting any part of it, but rethinking it into a new, considerably more complex form that bears all the hallmarks of a greater maturity of sounds.

It is in a sense an interesting phenomenon, as Hotel Lux’s well-deserved rise was stumped by Covid lockdowns right at the moment where their trajectory appeared most clearly defined, and now that they are back the result seems to be the kind of growth and confidence that is often expected in a sophomore record rather than a debut. This track has everything that we have come to expect from the band: the urgent, almost spoken-word vocals, giving body to insightful lyrics illuminating aspects of social and political discourse that are as relevant as ever; the direct, classic-punk attitude, leaning into a practical, real-world image rather than into the kind of glamour more often found on the post-punk scene; the robust rhythm section injecting a subtle disquiet into the fast tempo of the song. But there is also much that is new, fitting in seamlessly with the band’s style markers: broader, more full-bodied guitars that seem borrowed from Brit-pop and repurposed for something with much more of a bite like Blur with an existential crisis; instrumental bridges with a backbone of synth which have something of classic Pulp in them; backing vocals that bring with them a whiff of the 80s.

The much greater complexity of this track, when compared with their previous work, takes nothing out of the effectiveness which Hotel Lux have always had in offering a stark, in places merciless, depiction of the society we find ourselves in, with no added frills or padding. “Paint a picture of the modern world/Put the pieces back together”, the lyrics repeat with increasing energy as the song draws to an end: in a way, this could easily be a manifesto for all the band has set out to do from their very earliest beginning, as well as an announcement of what they intend to do in their new work. If it feels rather foreboding, perhaps it should be: pictures of the modern world have many dark nuances in them, and Hotel Lux have never been ones to sweeten the pill.

Chiara Strazzulla


Image: Points of View’ Official Single Cover

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