February 20, 2012

Review: Hospitality | Hospitality

Hospitality's eponymous full-length debut imparts a sense of spirit before you've even torn the plastic off, simply via the scene on the album cover. The aging family is a fitting symbol for the music herein; a weathered foursome in a regal plank boat, soaking up the sun on the Hudson's first autumnal days. These are people who have lived, who were wild, and now it's time for them to reexamine the memories of youth.

With an EP already under their collective belt dating back to 2008, Brooklyn-based Hospitality seems to have wasted none of the time between in creating an album of stylish, flashing indie-pop. Dreamy fronter Amber Papini and primary instrumentalists Nathan Michel and Brian Betancourt incorporate strings, odd electronics, and full, jazzy chording into their songs, elements that keep the music unpredictable even within the relatively formal conventions of indie pop.

Papini's voice also sets the band apart. Quite awesomely, according to their press release, "she learned to sing by imitating Richard Butler on Psychedelic Furs' Talk Talk Talk." This is made apparent by her odd inflections and tumbling lyrics, which also recall more recent weirdo coffeehouse singers like Thao Nguyen and Joanna Newsom. Opener and album highlight "Eighth Avenue" offers up a strummy vamp while Papini harps on pinging lines like "out of my twenties and bars and bathroom halls, pass 22 to 44." Lead single "Friends of Friends" [video] features the sort of bright horns and left-turn chorus that Feist has employed to wide appeal. The odd "Julie" touts a lost-sounding melody that recalls The Beatles' "Blue Jay Way," while "The Birthday" builds in a pleasantly abstract manner before a brief shoegaze-styled bliss out. Despite the many surprises, Hospitality are at their best when they keep the tempo up on rockers ("The Right Profession," "Betty Wang") that steer the group away from straight-laced singer-songwriter fare. With such an enjoyable debut full-length, it will be worth the wait to hear the group continue to traverse its unique currents. Hospitality was released by Merge Jan. 31. The band launches an extensive series of tour dates later this month, beginning with San Francisco's Noise Pop Festival; full tour dates are below. -- Edward Charlton

Hospitality: Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

02.25 -- San Francisco, CA -- Great American Music Hall
02.26 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Troubadour
02.29 -- Toronto, ON -- Horseshoe Tavern
03.02 -- Boston, MA -- Brighton Music Hall
03.03 -- New York, NY -- Bowery Ballroom
03.07 -- New Haven, CT -- BAR
03.09 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Local 506
03.10 -- Atlanta, GA -- The Earl
03.11 -- Orlando, FL -- Orange You Glad Festival
03.14 -- Austin, TX -- SXSW
03.15 -- Austin, TX -- SXSW
03.16 -- Austin, TX -- SXSW
03.17 -- Austin, TX -- SXSW
03.18 -- Dallas, TX -- Bro Fest
03.20 -- Birmingham, AL -- Bottletree
03.21 -- Nashville, TN -- High Watt @ Mercy Lounge
03.22 -- Asheville, NC -- Emerald Lounge
03.30 -- New Haven, CT -- Toad’s Place
04.02 -- Washington, DC -- 9:30 Club
04.03 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Trocadero
04.05 -- Chicago, IL -- Metro

Hospitality by NYLONmag

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