Brooklyn indie-pop trio Hospitality are due to release their first album, a reflection on youth and living in New York. The self-titled album follows their 6-track EP produced and recorded by Karl Blau in the winter of 2008 and released early 2009. Less lo-fi and more pop inspired than their first EP, Hospitality was worth the wait.
The band’s influences include Elvis Costello and Kate Bush however their sound lies somewhere between the clever ditties and twee-pop vibe of Belle & Sebastian or Talulah Gosh with an added indie twist placing them in the now. The whimsical indie band is fronted by Amber Papini who also plays the piano and guitar, she is joined by Nathan Michel on guitar, drums and keyboard and Brian Betancourt on vocals and bass.
Produced by Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells) and band member Nathan Michel, the record has an intimate sound created with layered period keyboards with horns, synthesizers, and treated guitars. Papini’s vocals are the true star of the release and vary between twee sugar coated murmurs and feisty Karen O style indie chants.
The 10 track album flows very well in one listen. The catchy number Betty Wang is filled with da da das and a lot of la la la-ing whilst Friends of Friends contains the contagious hook; “I’ve got friends that are old friends, I got friends that are new friends” that repeats throughout. All Day Today is a percussion driven track with knocks, shakes and hand claps pushing the lyrics forward. Argonauts showcases Papini’s sweet vocals and she is joined by Brian Betancourt part way through for a cutesy duet “beauty, beauty all you say and that’s your only story” they sing, followed by her “don’t forget the bell” repeats
The album isn’t just dance-y jingles, the lyrics are well thought out statements: Liberal Arts is a reflection on the arts and university and perhaps a personal reflection for one of the band, but a humorous one at that; “So you’ve found the lock but not the key that college brings, and all the trouble of a BA in English Literature instead of Law” and “You’re trading all your time for money”.The Right Profession takes a similar subject matter; “no-one really knows the price of fame”. Julie is the perfect mix of building melodies and lyrics inspired by Papini’s great-grandfather, a Pennsylvania coal miner.
Reviewed by Heather Welsh.