Hightide Hotel


Written by: TL on 01/10/2014 16:13:50

The bandname Hightide Hotel is one that has popped up online recently, prompting one to check out the band's new album "Naturally", but it's actually quite strange to only find out about them now. Because as it turns out this second LP from the band is actually its swan song, with the trio from the Philadelphia area having opted to break up following what they consider the culmination of their creative efforts. Finding the album released via Count Your Lucky Stars though, listeners unfamiliar with the Philadelphia scene should still be unsurprised to discover a sound that many would casually lump in under the emo revival umbrella. It's more accurate to think of the music here as a compound however, of ringing guitars that crash into each other, often at punk rock speed, while the vocals are the down-to-earth sort which shift between being melodically half-spoken and being belted out quickly, like the band is concerned about saying everything it needs to before the record is up.

References that come to mind include the twinkly-but-loud emo of Annabel, the winding songwriting of Into It. Over It. and the oddly busy-yet-laidback energy of Everyone Everywhere, and the record hits the scene square on, with its main strength being a bubbly energy which feels like it spontaneously carries frantic guitar shenanigans and abrupt drum patterns up and down in intensity without much regard for conventional songwriting dynamics. Eleven tracks are on offer of which "Vertigo Chamber" at number four is worth noting as a highlight, making itself noticed via a particularly ear-grabbing usage of the call-reponse between two otherwise similar voice types that the band deploys throughout. Later on, "An Absence Felt" also recurringly snaps you to attention with lyrics about opting out of trying to outrun death.

It's peculiar though, for the album to be released with no following tour in sight, because most of all it sounds like songs written comfortably within their home scene, which won't reach full potential before being performed with bouncy energy on smaller stages all over the place. Listening at home, you can entertain yourself by observing the subtle nuances that distinguish Hightide Hotel from the rest of the "emo" and underground punk scenes, but it is questionable whether there are enough of them for you to not feel like the style is a bit "heard before". The erratic songwriting style is low on clear triggers that set off a deeper interest in the listener and make you extra aware of a particular song, and your inner cynic will likely question if a bit more deliberate structuring or careful singing would really be so bad? Regardless, things being as they are, the music on "Naturally" aligns competently with the genre around it, and exudes a positive energy to fill your home, car or headphones with, which is solid, but those on the lookout for immediately captivating songs of clear lasting value, or those that have yet to be smitten by the emo wave, might dive in quite a few times without finding any revelations on here.


Download: Vertigo Chamber, An Absence Felt
For The Fans Of: Annabel, Everyone Everywhere, Into It. Over It
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 30.09.2014
Count Your Lucky Stars

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