Release Date: Feb 14, 2012
Record label: Rock Ridge Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop
While there's an undeniable, late-‘60s sunshine pop vibe to many of the arrangements here, from the vocal harmonies to the horn sections, the Explorers Club nevertheless seems to have simultaneously inched along a little further on the calendar and widened their target. More than anything, Grand Hotel seems concerned with offering up tunes that could have been hits on early-‘70s AM radio. It's like one of those Have a Nice Day collections of songs by ‘70s one-hit wonders, except that all the tracks are by the same artist.
Crisp production and tender performances from all members of The Explorers Club aside, their newest release, Grand Hotel, lacks the extra edge required to escape a number of the kitschy pitfalls of era infatuation. For Jason Brewer, David Ellis, and the rest of the Club, their undying reverence lies with the Beach Boys singles and suburban supermarket jingles of yore. Grand Hotel features quaint barbershop ballads and soft, surfside rockers in spades, and The Explorers Club borrow gluttonously from the sounds of ’60s and ’70s popular American music, providing sharp delivery but lacking sufficient self-awareness.
People often refer to the 1960s as the greatest decade for pop music, and in many ways, it was. There was a definite magic in the way many chart topping bands complemented emphatic, upbeat melodies and lyrics with explosively fun orchestration (which usually consisted of many instruments, including horns, woodwinds, strings, and keys). Unfortunately, these days, this style is rarely captured, but there are still a few bands out there that excel at channeling such a beloved retro sound.