EP Review: Hotel Lux – Barstool Preaching

Monday, May 18, 2020
Photo by Jody Evans 

After a string of memorable singles, Portsmouth-formed and now London-based band Hotel Lux have delivered their debut EP Barstool Preaching via Nice Swan Records. They may have originally attracted attention for their impressive singles like ‘The Last Hangman’ and ‘English Disease’, but the EP showcases their growth as a band that's on the rise.

One thing that particularly stands out about Hotel Lux is the unpredictability of their sound — the moment that you think it’s definable, they do something completely different on the next track. It can sometimes take bands their whole career to showcase that level of versatility, but they’ve mastered the skill of keeping listeners guessing. If we had to describe their style, it would be somewhere between Britpop and post-punk, but it’s neither one of them singlehandedly — it’s much more complicated than that.

The EP opens up with the lyrically direct ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ — the track is their honest take on the lies that mainstream media often spin. Next up is ‘Eddie’s Gaff’, which is vibrant and spirited whilst also appearing quite sobering. The swirling and introspective number is an ode to better days. The words, ‘wasting our lives away’, are chanted in unison and are reminiscent of a sing-a-long at the pub. Placed in the middle of the EP is our personal favourite track ‘Charades’. The mysterious song features sharp vocals by Lewis Duffin on the verses before moving into a much hazier chorus — the contrast of these different tones is intriguing.

As we reach the concluding stages of Barstool Preaching, we’re met by ‘Loneliness Of The Stage Performer’. It’s told from the perspective of an idealistic performer who is desperate for validation — including contemplating one’s suicide just to envision the comments they would receive on Facebook. Lyrically, they’re able to capture all facets of this character and it's superb. ‘Ballad Of You & I’ marks the end of the release, leaving listeners with the grand sounds of a trumpet and a reflective sing-a-long.

On their debut offering, Hotel Lux presents a series of tracks that don’t only sound satisfying, but are also vastly entertaining — there’s a lot to love about the band and we’re eagerly awaiting their next move.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Follow Hotel Lux: