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Trouble -- Hospitality

by Arthur Dorrington on February 9, 2014

Trouble is the Brooklyn based indie pop three-piece Hospitality's second studio album. As a fan of three piece bands in general I was excited to hear how Hospitality would choose to arrange their songs and approach their overall sound on this LP, and I'm happy to say they did not disappoint. The album's first track, 'Nightingale,' is a sweeping array of songwriting styles and ideas, starting off with a heavy and fuzzy guitar riff, traveling through stripped down synth pads and ending with a true-to-the-word poppy full band outro. Hospitality set the tone early on, their songwriting chops are clearly in the forefront of their music.

Hospitality has taken care not to come off as just a flashy, "trying-too-hard" indie group though. The lyrics are certainly a step in the right direction in comparison to their debut, and they have taken more risks with the instrumentation, adding more interesting synth sounds, more acoustic guitars, as well as electric, and even orchestral instruments like trumpet and flute. The track "Sunship," one of the more subdued and prettier tracks on the album, lets Hospitality's arrangement prowess really shine, with intense and pained flute and trumpet melodies soaring over acoustic strumming, split up by quiet and dreamy verses that really let Hospitality come out of their shell as a traditional rock/pop three-piece.

The album certainly has a distinct split between the A and B sides, showing a progression from more driving and poppy tracks to slower and more bare acoustic tracks towards the end of the album. The album's development was certainly one of my favorite things about the listening experience, the transitions were all welcome ones, and really made the pacing easy and enjoyable. Quick and jittery tracks like "I Miss Your Bones," (hands-down one of the most ambitious on the entire album, with punchy guitar chords doubling a vocal melody, creating one of the coolest moments throughout) give way to slower and simpler songs like "Sunship" and "It's Not Serious," a straight-forward and unassuming track, yet a solid display of Hospitality's ability as a pop band, songwriters, and arrangers (there's actually a tasteful bass solo in this song!).

Overall, Trouble is an album that shows remarkable amounts of promise. All the elements of what could be a truly amazing album seem to be there. Different moments on the album demonstrate great song writing ability, true musical talent, and tasteful ideas in sound. However, there are a few moments on the album where I really felt like everything had not really come together as well as it could have. Trouble is certainly an album I would recommend, but I couldn't help but feel as though something was holding Hospitality back from doing exactly what it was they wanted to do. It's a harsh criticism to make, but sometimes the songs seemed as though they were written for the sole purpose of being clever and well-crafted pop tunes, and not just legitimate, really heart-felt expressions. With all this in mind I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what happens to Hospitality, and will definitely be returning to some of these songs in the near future.