I don’t like blowing smoke up anyone’s ass. That said, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, I was never stoked on The Hotel Year. Their debut full length, It Never Goes Out, just didn’t do it for me. It was a generally alright record, but it just wasn’t for me. It’s been three years since that record came out. Some time off, a name change, and a new record has done wonders. The Hotel Year is now The Hotelier, and Home, Like Noplace Is There is fucking great. If you ask me what a breakout record looks like, I’ll point you in this direction.
So, what’s different? To my ears, quite a bit. First and foremost is the development of Christian Holden as a vocalist. He comes across stronger, more interested, and more invested. His range is right on the money. Need a more calm, ballad delivery? Check. Need him to just belt it the fuck out? Double check. Another improvement is the that, without getting into the boring old trope of “maturity” or whatever, the lyrics have gotten significantly better. I mean, goddamn, how could anyone not feel the emotion in a song like “Your Deep Rest?”
This is a punk rock record first and foremost. The band is further embracing more “emo” tropes though, especially on songs like “Among The Wildflowers” and “Life In Drag.” The vocals on those tracks are pure fucking catharsis. The band weaves it’s way through tones and time changes, and the vocals reach their most extreme.
Home, Like Noplace Is There is a great example of the more “punk” side of emo music. It’s aggressive and rough, but still melodic and welcoming. If I was tentative about this band on their first record, I’m all in on this one. The Hotel Year is dead, long live The Hotelier.