Hotel Lux - Hands Across the Creek (The State51 Conspiracy) 2

Hotel Lux – Hands Across the Creek (The State51 Conspiracy)

The debut album by Hotel Lux is called Hands Across the Creek, a phrase picked up by lead singer Lewis Duffin from his Dad’s mates, which he believes refers to the Portsmouth-Fareham connection. It’s a demonstration of maintaining a connection with their roots, while at the same time evolving during a turbulent few years. Hindsight will perhaps see the band admit that everything had to fall apart in order for it to be rebuilt.

The album opens with ‘Old Timer‘, and immediately the tone is set. All jangly guitars and shimmying percussion the opening lyrics are “you’re everything I want to be and less“. Taking phrases and making them their own is part of the charm of Hotel Lux. Vocalist Lewis has such clarity which is important as the lyrics deserve to be heard. ‘Old Timer’ is a personal questioning of how to live a life.

Just read these lines:
“I don’t know how to build a wall,
But they reckon I can rip off The Fall.

I can write some words instead,
Don’t use cement I use lead.”

The addition of organ by new member Dillon Home and the falsetto backing vocals give a fun vibe to the track, as it mulls over of ones place in the world. Previous single ‘Common Sense’ is quite different with its outward view rather than inward. It was inspired by the RMT strikes and trade union leader Mick Lynch as well as the media’s treatment of Jeremy Corbyn. With its funky bass and constant snare beats throughout, its a danceable comment on the impact of the media and its overblown power.

In the year of a football World Cup, albeit one in contentious circumstances, ‘National Team’ is a wry observation on ‘kids done good’. A real stomper of a track with a particularly droll delivery by Lewis.

Bass player Cam Sims admits that in the early days the band “always cared too much about how we were going to be perceived.” Perhaps the recent disruption and turmoil have allowed Hotel Lux to grow more comfortable in their own skin. A sharp handbrake turn into ‘Eastbound and Down‘ shows just how adept they are at social commentary. Pointed and honest, the scene is perfectly painted in this song and you could almost imagine the video with a huge word bubble over Lewis as he mulls over his fellow passenger. ‘Strut‘ is in a similar vein, but directed at a different type of character. New band members Max Oliver (guitar) alongside Dillon (organ; violin) have brought another layer of sound to Hotel Lux and their impact can be heard sprinkled throughout the album. ‘Morning After‘ is a huge shift in pace slowing things right down. Thoughtful and measured it presents a completely different side to Hotel Lux. This continues on ‘An Ideal for Living‘. Stripped back it’s almost an acoustic track. Introspective and passionately delivered its a highlight on Hands Across the Creek. Those wavers in the vocal adding to the raw honesty.

Points of View‘ takes us back into familiar Hotel Lux territory, opening with jangly guitars. The bouncy vibes are accompanied by Lewis’s acerbic lyrics and delivery: “Paint a picture of the modern world, Put the pieces back together.” The lyrics are so clever, with their hidden meanings, dry observations and humour. The modern world is currently broken and just how can it be fixed?

Easy Being Lazy‘ is a gorgeous beauty, just listen to the words and how they apply to us all. And what a fitting end to the album, the frankly hilarious ‘Solidarity Song‘:
“Like the threat of a nuclear war you give me headaches.
Oh when I’m sat on the end of a sofa
and you’re there chatting me into a coma”

Hotel Lux are completed by guitarist Sam Coburn, drummer Craig MacVicar. Hand Across the Creek was produced by kindred spirit Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral; Arctic Monkeys; Yard Act) who also contributed piano to the record. The variety throughout the album show the confidence that is growing in Hotel Lux. The observations, humour and dry delivery is still there but they have evolved in their soundscapes and instrumentation to produce this confident and stirring debut album.

For more information on Hotel Lux please see their facebook and twitter.
Their European and UK tour begins in Antwerp on 1 February with the UK dates starting in Brighton on 17 February, finishing in their hometown of Portsmouth on 25 February.
Check here for tickets.
Their debut album Hand Across the Creek is out on 20 January via The State51 Conspiracy.

Hotel Lux - Hands Across the Creek (The State51 Conspiracy) 2
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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.