It seems like punk rock and emo music just falls from the sky these days. Few bands have really managed to separate themselves from the pack, leaving a genre with a lot of copy cats and bands that fail to break the template set by past acts. The Hotelier are one of the rare bands that have balanced being true to emo while also managing to bring something new to the table as well. The main thing that truly makes The Hotelier special is just how real they come off through the writing process, which is shown perfectly in this newest effort.
Home, Like No Place Is There is the third album from Worcester, Massachusetts’ most notable four man punk band. There are limited elements to really make the album sound any different from past records, using starts and stops to create an abrasive yet pretty attack to sink your teeth into. The themes are fairly dark this time around, ranging from skipping out on a friend’s funeral and an abusive home life that the narrator needs to desperately run away from. These themes are no different than one might get from any other emo band, but the real impact is palpable due to astounding writing. Not all the lyrics are discernible due to genre trappings of screamed vocals, but the feelings listeners will get from the raw energy pounds the point through while holding your hand as well.
There are no bad songs in the nine song track listing, giving limited problems to bring up. “Your Deep Rest” is the best track at conveying emotion on a deep level; it uses a slower opening to set up the somber tone and building into a fury in the second half is perfectly crafted, especially with the heavy loss of a friend being the main story. “Housebroken” comes through just as effective, using a slightly slower pace as well. The constant pace changes make the song a tough rubix cube to navigate, while featuring some of the most comedic lyrics on the record. The first track on Home, Like No Place Is There is oddly the most ambitious song, the aptly titled “An Introduction to the Album” utilizes the sharpest attack, including heartfelt piano that adds good dimension as well as a melodic feel that most emo bands wish to hit.
If there are any main complaints with this third album from The Hotelier, they would have to be pacing and variety. The pacing of most songs change too often to get entranced by the main themes at critical moments, especially on the faster paced tracks. Too often do emo bands fall into similar formulas over full albums and The Hotelier do not quite avoid such a fate despite being better as a whole. The limited variety of tracks causes a few qualms as well, settling for songs that either indulge in gloomy themes or overtly angry ones. No songs bring forth any real sense of safety or happiness, which might help balance out the story and make the ride a little less stale.
The Hotelier do a solid job of creating a noteworthy semblance of emo songs for hardcore fans of the genre. There is all the energy one might expect, as well as storytelling that is required for such a heavy set of themes. There is a distinct lack of risks taken here and a few pacing problems along the way, but Home, Like No Place Is There is well worth a hardcore punk fan’s time.
1. An Introduction to the Album
2. The Scope of All of This Rebuilding
3. In Framing
4. Your Deep Rest
5. Among the Wildflowers
6. Life In Drag
8. Discomfort Revisited