RIYL: Joyce Manor, Foxing, Somos, The Front Bottoms, You Blew It!
Home, Like No Place is There is the debut album from The Hotelier, a pop punk group from Worcester, Mass. The first song on the album, appropriately titled “An Introduction to the Album” is one of the most impressive openers I have heard from any artist last year. An engulfing atmosphere is created right away as your ears become flooded with white noise and a lone synthesizer note. As soon as the vocals and finger-picked guitar come in, you quickly begin to realize this band isn’t filled with your average sappy teen-angst musicians. As the song progresses you begin to feel the singer ready to snap at any moment. “An Introduction..” soon turns into a beautiful crescendo of explosives guitars coupled with heart-wrenching backup vocals. Alongside its continuing buildup, you begin to hear his voice crack more and more with defeat until he explodes with “I had a chance to construct something beautiful and I choked.” [pullquote align=”center”]As soon as the vocals and finger-picked guitar come in, you quickly begin to realize this band isn’t filled with your average, sappy teen-angst musicians.[/pullquote]
The lead singer, Christian Holden has a voice that allows this album to shine above almost all other pop punk releases from 2014. Nasally, sincere and surprisingly raw at times, he is able to bring out real emotion that most artists his age seem to lack. Collectively, the album focuses on several tough-to-swallow subjects. Holden dives into death of pets, his father leaving, and even not being able to make it to a close friend’s funeral. Throughout the album you receive a front row seat to all of his emotional developments and the rest of the band knows exactly what to play to keep you listening.
Coming in at only 37 minutes, the nine-song album is able to be abrasive at the most suitable times, like on “Life in Drag,” subjectively the heaviest song on the album. When the time comes to be emotional, they manage to bear it all, specifically on one of my personal favorites, “Your Deep Rest.” The first chorus puts its heart on its sleeve as a light guitar strums over Holden singing “I called in sick from your funeral. / The sight of your body made me feel uncomfortable. / I couldn’t recognize your shell.” Feeling almost invasive by the sheer honesty of these lyrics, Holden gives you some time to breathe until the second chorus. This time, his words are nearly being screamed in your face, as if he wants anyone, anywhere to hear how he feels.
“Dendron,” the album closer shows – what seems to me – the most emotion. Opening with nothing but clean vocals, the guitar, bass, and drums slowly pick up and it begins to turn into a fairly basic pop punk song. As soon as this happens, Holden swoops in to save it with his voice as he screams, “Wake me up.” Once the latter half of the song comes in, intelligent song writing and brilliant lyricism intertwine, and this song abruptly ends before you can truly understand what emotions you’ve been put through. Helpless, hurt, and exposed, Home, Like No Place is There is a matured album. Instead of being an album comprised of ex-girlfriends and bad breakups, Home is not an album to be taken lightly, and they’ll make sure we know that.
Favorite Songs: “An Introduction to the Album,” “Your Deep Rest,” “Dendron.”
Zach Ritz is a second-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at ZR812833@wcupa.edu.