steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Hotel Hotel

"The Sad Sea" CD

Silber Records

Genre: instrumental rock, post-rock, drone

Austin, TX

May 8, 2009

After Northern Valentine's stunning debut, I was expecting a fair amount from Hotel Hotel's The Sad Sea, another offering from prolific drone imprint Silber Records. What do you know? They delivered.

This expansive yet personal record is a thoroughly engaging work of atmospheric post-rock. Skilfully treading the line between gradual, droning moodpieces and more fleshed out Explosions in the Sky-esque instrumental rock, The Sad Sea makes for a distinctly enveloping listen. Custom made for dazey late-night listening under dim lights (or no light at all), these eight tracks flow into one another smoothly, seemingly telling a story along the way. Indeed, the track titles themselves outline the fable, although I find it more rewarding to conjure up my own images to match the sounds.

I will remark that, at times, The Sad Sea does risk losing its audience's attention. Perhaps occasionally, Hotel Hotel's vast musical excursions may be better suited to background mood-setting as opposed to consuming one's full attention. However, this criticism could be applied to many such atmospheric records, and it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Like Explosions in the Sky or Stars of the Lid, Hotel Hotel has mastered the art of building a beautiful record out of slow-moving, unassuming compositions.

Sidenote: Full credit to Silber Records for the impeccable design on this release.

hotel hotel's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2008]