ALBUM REVIEW: Hotel Books – Equivalency II: Everything We Left Out

Release Date: November 1st 2019
Label: InVogue Records
Website: None available


The spoken word mogul from California, Hotel Books (aka Cam Smith), delivers his fourth album ‘Equivalency II: Everything We Left Out’, a full-length harnessing the lost undertones that were born in its somewhat first half, 2017’s ‘Equivalency’.

This latest effort from the singer/songwriter sets out to detail the lost adventures of David and Sarah, a fictional couple who are materialised and explored in Smith‘s poignant lyricism.

The poet and vocalist prefaces ‘Equivalency’ in its entirety in the aptly titled ‘Intro’ by bowing to David and Sarah, before mellowing into an old poem. ‘I Hope I’m Not Wrong’ soon swells; a guitar-ladled track that foams with hopefulness and details Smith‘s forward-looking and soft perspective of a future family.

Later number ‘Waves In Walls’ is raw but is also smoked and divulging, like a marshmallow slightly browned, slightly gooey. The poetry that stands alone throughout this release proves to be as simply effective as the words cushioned by instruments – the grit in Smith‘s voice resembles the frolics of a drum or the spritz of a chord, and that’s all that this track needs.

‘Thinking, Pt. 1’ is a fragrant concoction of blushing acoustics and fever-inducing emotion. While this track hums and wavers below the surface, it’s counterpart, ‘…Pt. 2’, draws out its greys and peaches and grinds them into dull graphites and more saccharine magentas. ‘…Pt. 2’ is both saddening and lively, and a further addition to the emotional complexity of Hotel Books‘ vast discography.

‘Sarah To David’ is the later companion to ‘David To Sarah’, and is a dainty, enlightening motif that speaks directly to David with an informatively beautiful tone. There’s something in the airiness of Smith‘s words that allows them to float between the intricacies of your psyche, immersing you in the fictional wonderland that they construct.

While under the guise of fiction, ‘Equivalency II: Everything We Left Out’ proposes introspective reflection and personalises Hotel Books, wrapping the project snug in considerable adoration. This is somewhat of a comforting listen; a floral, lovely anthology.