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Hotel Lights: Girl Graffiti

Featuring one time Ben Folds Five drummer Darren Jessee on vocals, guitars, piano and keyboards and Sparklehorse/A Camp guitarist Alan Weatherhead, who also engineered this album, Girl Graffiti is the third album from Hotel Lights. Although crammed with pop sensibilities, Girl Graffiti is a hard album to tie to one style, with everything from Cold Play, The Byrds, The Feeling, Cosmic Rough Riders and on the oddest of occasions Neil Young being brought to mind. That's a wide scope of influences to choose from, but Hotel Lights do so in a way that their music combines into one flowing album that feels more like a journey through life than merely eleven disparate songs.

The one word that I keep coming back to with this album is downcast. Not that it makes me feel sad, or that the songs aren't good, however every one of the songs starts slowly, has a slow bit in the middle before building to a slow section. If you are looking for songs that are packed with tempo changes, or that exhibit a huge array of emotions by building to great crescendos, or even little intricate breakdown sections, then I can honestly suggest that you search elsewhere. Instead Hotel Lights keep things just below mid-pace with some witty, insightful lyrics, smart arrangements and strong song writing. That said taken as a whole, this is an album which can become slightly overwhelming, with the lack of variation making a consecutive run through the tracks a little tough. It's not that Jessee isn't a charismatic singer, with in truth the exact opposite being true, or that he, Weatherhead and Jay Brown on bass and Zeke Hutchins on drums aren't a strong unit capable of making songs that gently entertain and enthral, it is just that the changes between and during songs are so subtle that this is music that requires your full attention to really let it run free.

Intelligent pop music is pretty tough to come by these days and while much of Girl Graffiti will go over the head of the masses, there's much to savour here.

Track Listing
1. Falling Down
2. Girl Graffiti
3. Dave Sharkey To The Dance Floor
4. Super 8mm
5. My Own Cloud
6. Headboards And Aspirin
7. Through The Crowd
8. My Pretty Quirk
9. Girl Waiting
10. All My Asshole Friends
11. Into The Blue

Added: August 6th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Hotel Lights
Hits: 2189
Language: english

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