In 2014, The Hotelier released ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’ to overwhelming acclaim. Seemingly overnight they went from the underground to being lauded as one of the best bands in the so-called “real emo revival”, and found themselves on the tip of everyone’s tongue and the top of everyone’s end of year lists. It was brash, angular, and emotive; everything you could ask for from a “real emo” record.
‘Goodness’ is a much more considered beast, and at first that may put off some listeners who wanted more of the same, but if you look at the albums as a progression, then it feels completely natural for the anger to have dissipated and for it to have been replaced with a more positive, hopeful outlook. After a bit of a false start with the (slightly pretentious) spoken word opener, the album truly begins with ‘Goodness, Pt. 2’; a simple and repetitive lone drum pattern leaving room for Christian Holden‘s vocal refrain to glide through. When the rest of the band eventually kicks in, there’s a definite Jimmy Eat World kind of vibe; pop-rock without ever losing that classic emo tinge.
That theme carries on throughout ‘Goodness’, and if there is a criticism it’s that there could be bit more stylistic variety; compared to ‘Home…’, this album is a little bit samey throughout, but it’s executed exceptionally well.
Stand-out tracks include ‘Settle The Scar’, which has a real crisp, sharp guitar sound and sounds absolutely massive when it kicks in; think The Appleseed Cast meets early Foo Fighters, and ‘Opening Mail For My Grandmother’, which is a lot grander in its scale. The haunting chorus of “coming for you” makes excellent use of multi-layered vocals, and the more stripped-back, delicate moments are all the more effective when they come out of the more richly textured ones.
This is a fantastic album, but it’s lacking that something to give it staying power. The guitars swell and shimmer in all the right places, and the lyrics are extremely heartfelt, but those traits aren’t uncommon amongst The Hotelier‘s peers. If you’re looking for a modern emo classic then you may be disappointed, but if you’re looking for a great record to tide you over ’til the next big thing comes along, you could do a lot worse.
Written by Liam Knowles (@wearefixtures)