Release Date: Jan 28, 2014
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Review Summary: Everything must go.Trouble is uncertainty, shaky and unsure of itself but damn fine with going wherever it wants to. As a document of late 20s aimlessness, it’s the appropriate – the only, really – follow-up to 2012’s superb Hospitality. That record was a pitch-perfect approximation of Indie Pop, emphasis on the glockenspiel and Zooey Deschanel sundresses, the kind of indie that is almost too blinding to look at, which is why everyone stares ahead and shuffles their feet pathetically at shows.
New York band Hospitality’s second album opens with singer Amber Papini howling about ”ghosts in your bed!” over a theatrical pop mood piece, and doesn’t let up experimenting from there on in. There’s Parisian bongo funk on ‘Going Out’, sparse jazz on ‘Sullivan’ and a splash of synthy, Smithsy sci-fi on ‘Rockets And Jets’. Better still are the adorable ‘It’s Not Serious’ and ‘Sunship’, a superb Vampire Weekend-style electro-hymn called ‘Inauguration’ and Stereolab doing The Who’s ‘Tommy’ on the delightful ‘I Miss Your Bones’.
Hospitality's self-titled debut album showed the Brooklyn trio had three very important things going for them: Amber Papini's off-kilter vocal charms, her sweetly catchy indie pop songs, and their skill at making familiar sounds seem fresh and full of life. On their second record, Trouble, these vital factors are still firmly in place, but the band stretches beyond bouncy pop and tender introspection into all kinds of new directions. From the guitar-heavy "Nightingale," which kicks off the album in a crunchy, Neil Young-ian swirl that allows Papini to show off some real toughness to go with all the tender, to the very next song, "Going Out, which slowly rides a sunset-soft mid-'70s Laurel Canyon disco vibe, it's easy to see right away that Hospitality were inspired to explore all kinds of ways to grow their sound into something a bit more challenging and heady.
Hospitality’s self-titled debut album was a love letter to life in your early twenties – a carefree, cartwheeling attempt to see the good in bad decisions, and only the sweet in bittersweet romance. A few years on, their second LP Trouble doesn’t just feel like an expansion of these themes, but a direct sequel: resigned to the realities of late twenties disappointments, and finding lyrical escapism in empty, imaginary landscapes. Gone are the colourful bursts of brass flooding the choruses.
For the record, Hospitality never sounded that much like Belle & Sebastian. Their sweet-eyed sensibility may conjure up the same impressions as those masters of twee, but from the start, their sound was their own. Their debut was declarative in its sensitivity and sensitive with its declarations. From the sound of it, the band has decided if it means something to them, they’ve got to say what they have to say a little bit louder now.
It’s sort of disappointing that Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell never became much of an "It Girl," musically speaking. When Amber Papini surfaced a couple years back with her Brooklyn-based trio Hospitality, it felt like there was another feminine voice working in the same modern-twee vein as Campbell. But it was more than that tidy aesthetic that made Hospitality’s 2012 self-titled debut stand out, so much so that they’ve seemingly abandoned the simplicity on their sophomore LP, Trouble.
Trouble is like a blurry camera grabbing brief glimpses of perfect focus. Unlike Hospitality’s self-titled debut, which was mindful of the twee pop rule book – it came with bright, clear acoustic guitars, the oldest keyboards played on the funniest settings, panoramic views distilled through harmonies, and a song called “Liberal Arts” – it sounds disguised. Its hooks take longer to materialise, and where a song might once have burst forward, like an opening band vying for the attention of a bored crowd, here they slink into place.
One of NYC’s best kept secrets of the last few years has been Brooklyn trio Hospitality, whose delectably quirky 2012 self-titled debut combined Belle & Sebastian’s cute-as-a-button awkwardness and Vampire Weekend’s Ivy League musicianship. On their second LP, Trouble, the band contemplates a slightly darker side of life, thankfully without sacrificing any of their compulsive listenability. Trouble is a stark and deliberate record that doesn’t pull any punches.
Taking their time between the releases of their 2008 debut EP and self-titled 2012 album, the Brooklyn-based trio Hospitality has settled into a comfortable whole. Additional instruments are brushed into the picture now and then, though the band seems just as natural with a lean, straightforward sound as they do fleshing out the spaces. .
Two years on from their sadistic, brutal onslaught of doe-eyed cuteness and fawny indie-pop, Brooklyn trio Hospitality have come in from the cold with sophomore disc Trouble. Most will probably recall them as the band with Maeby from Arrested Development in their video (the track? “Friends Of Friends”), but there’s more than meets the eye on this new LP, and after sharpening their aural skills on the road, they’ve returned with a grander understanding of their sound – not just the notes they sing, pluck and strum, but the spaces in between too. As they’ve made clear, silence is their ‘fifth Beatle’.
On their 2012 debut, Hospitality made charming, quickwitted indie pop full of cagey guitar frizz. The Brooklyn trio's second album is a little more worry-worn and a little tougher-sounding – and it's all the better for it. "Rockets and Jets" seems to evoke 9/11 with images of smoky blue skies down by the river, over an arrangement that veers and burns like a subterranean Yo La Tengo; on the synth-driven "Inauguration," singer-guitarist Amber Papini tells off a worthless boy while Barack Obama gets sworn in on TV.
Nightingale, the opening cut on NYC band Hospitality’s second record, serves as both a statement of intent and an introduction to Hospitality’s patchwork sound. It packs a rollicking, rolling Crazy Horse riff, string-draped dramatics and leader Amber Papini’s vocal charm offensive. It’s Papini who takes much of the critical plaudits for her band’s exciting sound, and rightly so – she is the main attraction here, and is allowed to showcase her considerable songwriting and vocal abilities in equal measure.
On NYC trio Hospitality's sophomore full-length, they switch gears from the cutesy indie pop of their 2012 self-titled effort to full-on emotional drama. Lead vocalist and chief songwriter Amber Papini isn't wondering about 20-something hardships any more; her plight is more existential. On Inauguration, she asks, "Is this my life? Is this my fate?" Her crisis unfolds within a volley of instruments new to the group's repertoire: drum machines, keyboards, even synthesizers.
For Hospitality's 2012 self-titled debut, the Brooklyn trio delivered a playful collection of sugary indie pop, evoking everyone from Belle and Sebastian and Björk to 1960s girl groups. Trouble shares its predecessor's assuredness, yet lacks its cohesion.This time, the combo shies away from big hooks — don't expect "Betty Wang" or "Friends of Friends" 2.0 — instead trying on a range of new guises that are strong in isolation, but struggle to fit together. "Nightingale" is a haunted bedtime tale fleshed out with muscular guitar and punctuated by rhythmic fits and starts.
The myth of change is that it can be achieved through a series of steps, as if each calculated decision will support your growth. It sure does apply to budding acts still trying to discover their sound, but in the case of Brooklyn trio Hospitality, the all-around perception was that they were too naive to know better. Or at least that’s what we make of album debuts that are borderline saccharine, pleasant bursts of sweet-toothed indie pop with a cola-like aftertaste.
Hospitality — Trouble (Merge)No matter how much we may have enjoyed Hospitality’s first self-titled release, it will now always be defined as a launch of an idea that, as it turns out, was not fully expressed. The light, self-collegiate-conscious sounds seemed to be pointing to somewhere at the time but where? It was hailed as a fine debut — which it was — but there seemed to be a something buried underneath that was being stifled.It turns out, it was being nurtured. The second release, Trouble, is the album that the band wanted all along.
Two years ago, Hospitality released a solid self-titled debut full of straightforward pop songs. What made it more than a batch of bright hooks came in vocalist/guitarist Amber Papini’s lyrical outlook and a series of well-placed overdubs that added a unique sonic texture to the three-piece lineup. (On tour, drummer Nathan Michel moved to guitar to recreate his studio additions).
Hospitality Trouble (Merge) Hospitality's sophomore release is much darker and more mature and polished than the New York trio's eponymous 2012 debut. Case in point, the pulsing "Last Words" finds singer Amber Papini venturing into the sublime and finding it too terrible: "I took a boat to Eden/A priest was there to meet me on the sand [. .
The Brooklyn, N.Y., trio Hospitality were never exactly known for their sheer rock power, but fans of their 2012 self-titled debut may be surprised to find that they’ve further whittled down the scope of their sound to the barest wisp. While their arcadian folk-pop leads toward some bursts of zeal, save for the carousing “Nightingale” and the downright rocking (adjusted for twee-deflation) “I Miss Your Bones,” the balance of the ledger here is reserved for doleful hesitation. “Inauguration” is a bare-bones structure of bass synth, ambient noise, and vocalist Amber Papini’s accentuated recitation, a catalog of emotions as opposed to a vocal attack.
Although charming enough, Hospitality’s eponymous debut LP from early-2012 lacked the distinctiveness that a hotly-tipped act should have presented, being too wedded to a Sundays-meets-The Feelies jangle-rock shtick. However, the trio fronted by the honeyed-toned Amber Papini soon revealed more promise via a divine double-AA-side single – “The Drift” b/w “Monkey” – in late-2012, wherein an untapped knack for wiry grooves and brooding intensity was located. Within the space of just one 7?, Hospitality became worth some hype.