E.P. Review: Hotel Lux – Barstool Preaching

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Artist: Hotel Lux

EP: Barstool Preaching

Genre: Post-Punk/Indie Rock

Label: Nice Swan Records

Rating: 8/10

Barstool Preaching is an appropriate title for Hotel Lux’s new E.P. It’s hard not to picture yourself at the nearest pub as your vision begins to blur after beer after beer while you bullshit the night away with your pals. These songs are beer-soaked, but they’re more intelligent than belligerent, as the tales of cynicism, self-deprecation, and introspection are told with lyrical sharpness rich in wit, dark humor, and honesty. Lead singer Lewis Duffin’s gruff voice channels the raw spirit of early Post-Punk, and instrumentally these tracks are impeccably produced with the band perfecting the finest sounds Post-Punk and Britpop have to offer. It’s hard not to see yourself in these songs. Don’t we all at some point bend the truth just to get our point across or display ourselves as something we’re not? Duffin cleverly compares this reality to a tabloid newspaper on the opening track, and a similar subject appears on the track “Loneliness of the Stage Performer,” where the song is sung from the perspective of a singer who has created a fictional version of himself to appease the audience, only to come to the realization that he doesn’t know what the people want at the end of the day. It’s heavy subject matter, but it never loses its darkly comedic tone. The “Pub Rock” style is most present on the track “Eddie’s Gaff,” a song about the days of youth, the days of getting plastered, the days we’d waste our lives away, and like a drunken sing-along the band shouts “wasting our lives away!” in unison. I found myself singing along last night while I was getting drunk and wasting my day amid this social distancing. The track “Charades” sounds like a hangover but turns into a self-aware tune while female vocals beautifully back Duffin’s somber tone on the chorus. The closing track “Ballad of You & I” is a sweet tune with a hint of melancholy with an arrangement of trumpets and organs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a “Blur” record. Though a full album of tongue-in-cheek cynicism might get a little stale, this E.P. leaves you eager to hear a full-length album anyway, and the band most definitely has the talent to grow. Here’s to the future, cheers!

Written By: Steven Sandoval

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