Album Review: The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There

Massachusetts indie rock band, The Hotelier, recently released a nine song album entitled Home, Like Noplace Is There that delves into dark and emotional topics while blasting a mix of punk and hardcore into your ears. This band is likely to appeal to fans of bands like Captain, We’re SinkingThe Menzingers, and Brand New.

On the opening track “An Introduction to the Album,” Holden takes the reigns in a revealing monologue that starts off pretty soft besides his gritty shouting voice. His tone almost demands the band to come alive as he delivers the lines “Just remember when you’d call me to come / take a deep breath, and then jump / so fragile are bodies / so concave, work in self-destructive ways” with gang vocal “woah”s in the background. The guitar screeches a little and the piano adds texture that makes it sound absolutely beautiful. The song only gets better from there, the hair-raising lyrics and vocal performance are matched by sometimes ambient, but still really punk and full instrumentation. When Holden belts “feeling heavy / feeling cold in my skin / in my hand-me-downs / I’m wearing everything thin / And the pills that you gave didn’t do anything / I just slept for years on end / F***!” and the music kicks in as heavy as it does, it feels like true musical honesty. He ends the album opener by screaming “We’re all alone / Grab a hold / I know I said to not / What the f*** do I know? / I had a chance to construct something beautiful and I choked!” but if you ask me, this song and album warrant praise as just that.

The second song “The Scope of All of This Rebuilding” is much more active, with full thrashing guitar and drums almost the whole time. Some really energetic riffs accompany the lines “You cut our ropes / left the umbilical / and now I carry around / this weight of broken hope / I can’t retrace / and I lost my hold / and blame myself because that is all I’ve ever known” that are sung in a very lively fashion. Holden gets into some really deep and heavy topics on “In Framing” with an full force ending to the track where he quickly sings

And with your nature reversed and our home as our cage / you caved and you asked ‘is this coming of age’ / As you climbed out the window, your face cold as stone / you lifted the towel, Your wrist showed the bone / I held my breath in the ER, I swayed as I stood / I tried to stay steady to protect you the best that I could / You pretended to sleep the entire ride home but I heard you crying / when you felt alone.

The loss of a friend is dealt with painstakingly throughout the entire album, and on “Your Deep Rest” it is understood fully. First off, the guitar riff to start this works fantastically with the vocal melody. In a soft lull Holden describes “I called in sick from your funeral / The sight of your body made me feel uncomfortable / I couldn’t recognize your shell” but the track is loud for the most part, and he gets down to the essence of the loss he’s going through.

You said you’re trapped in your body / and getting deeper every day / They diagnosed you born that way / They say it runs in your family / A conscious erasure of working class background / where despair trickles down/ imbalanced chemical crutch, Open up, Swallow down / You said ‘remember me for me. I need to set my spirit free.’

I called in sick from your funeral / Tradition of closure nearly felt impossible / I should have never gave my word to you; not a cry not a sound / Might have learned how to swim but never taught how to drown / you said ‘remember me for me’ / I watched you set your spirit free.

This haunting number is a painful revelation on the album, and it is definitely a standout. The Hotelier gets pretty hardcore on the next couple songs, especially “Life In Drag,” which is a quick 2 minute ramble of shouts and interesting guitar work. “Housebroken” is a little different, its about a dog that is offered freedom but denies it to stay under the hand of his master. The track bulks up with pounding bass and drums, howling guitar, and a shouting Holden who ends the song by singing “Try to muzzle me up / I’ll lash out and bite back and keep / my options open for fear of becoming housebroken” as the music changes and softens up halfway through. “Discomfort Revisited” is another solid cut, with a thumping chorus that changes up tastefully while the cleverly-written lyrics deal with a breakup. In the final song, “Dendron,” a female vocalist sings as Holden screams his hardest, and the mash-up astounds, especially with the outpouring of energy that follows in the form of an instrumental build up. With all the stuff The Hotelier puts you through on this record, it comes to a resolute and passionate ending

Wish I was there to say goodbye when you went away / Wish I was home but noplace was there / I cut off my arm at the bone in solidarity / Capital teaches that there’s less when you share / I felt the noose tighten up on your collar bone / I felt the gun in the small of your back / Engraved in the stone by request and recurse of friends dead is ‘Tell me again that it’s all in my head!’

The Hotelier have done something amazing with this record, their honest messages dealing with suicide are forthright and loud. They talk about the dark issues in their lives while creating music that is unique and worth listening to. Even when Holden isn’t voicing his feelings, the band is communicating them while also creating a sound that fits into a few different genres. You should definitely give Home, Like Noplace Is There a listen, but be warned: it’s heavy listening.

Listen to Home, Like Noplace Is There on Spotify, bandcamp, or order it on vinyl from Tiny Engines Records.

Image via bandcamp.

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  1. Pingback: Modern Baseball’s Pop Punk Party at The Barbary - Rock On Philly

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