Massachusetts’s The Hotelier made quite the splash in our scene with the release of their 2014 album, Home, Like No Place is There. It’s been a long time since a band has seemingly come out of nowhere and written an album that resonates with so many people across the board of punk, emo, and indie music. There’s a history to the band a lot of people don’t know however: Before the release of HLNPIT, they spelled their name like you would think they would (“The Hotel Year”) and released a fantastic debut album called It Never Goes Out, earning for themselves a cult following and setting the stage for word-of-mouth and online shares which helped to make HLNPIT such a success, which I’m sure surprised the band’s fans as much as them. Tiny Engines recently announced the physical re-release of It Never Goes Out, marking the first time the record has ever been released in any sort of physical format.
It Never Goes Out has a lot of the same elements as HLNPIT – you can definitely tell that the same band wrote them both. Conversely, not every song is quite as much of a tearjerker. The opening track, “Our Lives Would Make A Sad, Boring Movie,” is an upbeat, pedal-to-the-floor pop punk song that perfectly shows the listener who the band is and what they’re about. Similar to that is the song “Holiday,” an idealistic, explosive punk rock tune that clocks in barely over a minute, and a definite highlight of the record. There are still many extremely personal songs too, albeit most of them not quite as heavy as what the band went on to make. Possibly the most powerful on this release is “An Ode To The Nite Ratz Club”, which recalls an experience in which an old friend of the song’s narrator shared some personal struggles with him, leaving a permanent imprint in the narrator’s life. The album ends with the tongue-in-cheek-ishly named “Title Track”, which is a great mix between the more idealistic, upbeat tracks on the album and the heavy, personal stuff that The Hotelier does so well.
There’s a lot of great things to be said about It Never Goes Out. While not the first release most people have heard from the band at this point in time, it was a great introduction to them before the release of HLNPIT. While technically the same band, it may be fair to say that The Hotel Year was a lot more Piebald, and after the name (er… spelling) change, they became a lot more like the Weakerthans. Most bands, especially in pop punk and emo, have that period of time where they’re young and they want to play as loudly as possible (angst, man). As they mature as songwriters, get older, and life hands out an exceptional new list of struggles, they take everything they’ve mastered on previous releases and craft it into something new and different. It’s not a bad thing, and it served this band really well. Both records are fantastic.
Really the only negative thing I have to say is that at points, the album is just too repetitive. I could say this about the newer record too, however. This band seems to take the same few chords they use in a song and beat them into the ground until they just can’t do it anymore. Which, weirdly, they do really well. But it’s still a bit too much sometimes.
While my biases as a fan are definitely showing through, I’m also going to recommend that everyone who’s a fan of the band’s newer album, as well as mid-2000’s pop punk go pick up this re-release in a physical format. It’s a fantastic record and it’s good to finally see it get more recognition.
4.5 / 5