Hightide Hotel

Nothing Was Missing, Except Me

Written by: TL on 19/11/2011 14:29:16

Right guys, it's time to review another new band you've likely never heard about. Today's subjects are called Hightide Hotel and are a trio out of Philadelphia, and the LP we've been sent for review, "Nothing Was Missing, Except Me", was released last Christmas via Runner Up and Count Your Lucky Stars. By now you should already know enough to have a picture of what they sound like, the key being "unknown east coast band on Count Your Lucky Stars". Geeh, could they sound at all like the low-fi mathy emo/punk the dear dorks at that label love so much? You bet.

So you've got your bubbly guitar and bass riffs flying all over the place, highlighting compositions that otherwise also contain vivid drums, plenty of punk chords and tempos and a couple of singers who, as usual in the genre, are more interested in throwing themselves headfirst into their lines than they are in the finer points of vocal work. Openers "I'm Just SIppin' On Monster, Thinkin' About Life" and "Childish" lay down the law of the album, being busy to the point where you imagine the band anxiously playing a show early in their career, rushing through their material as fast as possible and rocking out as manically as possible, as if to not give anyone in the audience time to notice that they're actually quite nervous, and not quite sure about what they're doing.

That's not to say the guys don't keep their playing in check, rather I just mean that their music is the sort that's so soaked in the whole underground, misunderstood emo-genre that the listener can easily get the impression that the band is playing fast and trying to dazzle with swift riffs and unpredictable changes, merely to obscure the fact that they haven't quite established a sound that's entirely their own yet, nor have they gotten a consistent hang for effective songwriting. They sound like an even earlier, even more energetic, version of similar bands that are otherwise also rather young, like Look Mexico, By Surprise and Everyone Everywhere. So even though a song like "Life Is Precious, And God, And The Bible" has something going on for a brief moment, the first half of the album has you wondering if it wouldn't be better if the guys didn't rush so much.

Fortunately, the second half of the record brings along a couple of numbers that are ever so slightly more listener-friendly. "Be My Lobster" deserves a mention in this category for how it gets some guitar progressions going that are sort of ear-opening at least relative to other songs on here. More likely to stick to the mind a bit though, are "She Dreams Of Melting Rocks", which finally seems the band calm down and go back to balladic basics - resulting in something solid if not all that special - and aptly titled album closer "Sometimes What Ends Doesn't", which pulls a "Goodbye Sky Harbor" (know your Jimmy Eat World please) on the listener by going on and on, trying to make you lose track of time (not doing quite so good a job at it as "Goodbye Sky Harbor" though).

Overall, Hightide Hotel proves here, to be the kind of band it's easy to like, both for keeping the underground emo-punk sound alive, for keeping things ambitious and for playing with conviction on their sleeves. That being said, they have some way to go yet before they'll prove to be the kind of band you'll remember for more than a short time. "Nothing Was Missing, Except Me", is the kind of record that establishes the band with a presence in their desired genre, but the songs on it are not quite mature or well-written enough to lift them up above what's average for that scene. In conclusion, this album is a tasty taster, but the guys need to keep working if they desire to find their way out of their relative obscurity.


Download: Be My Lobster; She Dreams Of Melting Rocks; Life Is Precious, And God, And The Bible
For The Fans Of: Look Mexico, By Surprise, Everyone Everywhere
Listen: facebook

Release Date 23.12.2010
Runner Up Records / Count Your Lucky Stars

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