A Very Welcome Return
The first, self-titled album from Brooklyn trio Hospitality fit its name remarkably well—it was an accessible, incredibly catchy, cutesy indie-pop romp bound to steal your oh-so-hip heart. And while the band’s sophomore album, Trouble, caters less to the sparkly, pleasant pop sound, it’s just as endearing, and possibly even more so.
Trouble stakes out new ground immediately in the percussive “Intro” and the opening seconds of “Nightingale,” where crashes of chords subside into a raw, rocking guitar riff worthy of the Black Keys, or maybe Zeppelin. But this too subsides, sinking below vocalist/guitarist Amber Papini’s melodic crooning before slamming back into the chorus and a synth-y instrumental bridge.
Where Hospitality largely stuck with more traditional structures and arrangements, Trouble pushes forward and toys with a more elastic sound. “Going Out” features a slinky, bluesy bass that struts beneath Papini’s cool vocals and a laid-back beat, and “Inauguration” is something of a slow burner, a meditative track that lies in limbo. “Sullivan” and “Sunship,” likewise, pair a minimalistic sound of soft percussion and low, full-bodied guitar tones pillowing the sweet, mellow vocals. “Call Me After” is a short but sweet acoustic lullaby.
Not all of the album’s tracks are on the soft side, though; the single “I Miss Your Bones” has all the jubilation and upbeat melodies Hospitality has come to be known for, with a pared down drum-bass hook and quirky lyrics, and “It’s Not Serious” feels like a ’60s pop song. The lengthy “Last Words” balances a synth-soaked ’80s movie sound, complete with those cascading key arpeggios, and a slightly dark, ultra-modern electro edge.
Bands often feel the need to release a “mature” sophomore album, something that shows they’ve developed and grown as musicians—and these efforts come off, just as often, as contrived and overly serious. But on Trouble, Hospitality manages to pull it off with grace, poise, and—well, a very hospitable, welcoming sound.