After the release of their second album in 2014, Home, Like Noplace Is There, Massachusetts band The Hotelier was captioned as being an emo band. If you compare the pulp of the album to the definition of what music lovers know “emo” to be, then sure, it all makes sense. It was an album written with pain all over it, its lyrics saturated with anguish and broken relationships, its sound crucial and haunted and desperate. But to say that this album is just emo is a definite understatement. It’s layered with noisy, frantic punk and the burn of a slight hardcore scream, yet it’s catchy, too, as heard in the songs “In Framing” and “Housebroken.” The Hotelier are not just emo.
So, what about the band’s third album, Goodness? (Yes, it’s the one with the blurred cover to conceal a group of naked middle-aged Mass locals, to represent honesty and the beauty of imperfection.) It starts with spoken words on the first track, “But in a landscape of tilted heads, while the sky sheds skin on my body, I feel my voice quiet to a halt and this is where I am,” but two more ethereal, wet New England interludes are peppered throughout the album, just to slow down the rush before the next big song. It’s all-telling on this third album, like it’s always been, but this time around it’s more mature, organized, and intuitive—all thirteen songs.
If the trend continues, so creatively capturing life and experience and love and time through music, then The Hotelier will just keep getting better and better. So go with them, listen to their story, feel it too, and really pay attention to the ups and downs, the flip and flop of now and then, and all that exists in between. You’ll hear it in every song.
(*The Hotelier plays on New Year’s Eve, but it is an EARLY show. There is another ticketed event that begins after their set. Just FYI.)
Doors @ 8 p.m.
Openers: Oso Oso, Born Without Bones