HOTEL LUX – ” Barstool Preaching ” EP

Posted: August 7, 2020 in MUSIC
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Portsmouth-via-London band Hotel Lux shared their debut EP “Barstool Preaching” via Nice Swan Records (Sports Team, Pip Blom, Fur). The five-track release spans slow-crawling, introspective rock (“Charades”), self-aware post-punk (“Loneliness of the Stage Performer”) and even jubilant organ-led guitar-pop (“Ballad of You & I”). There’s self-deprecating humour (“I scroll through pages upon pages on eBay to find the biggest ego and I beat the highest bidder”), stark frankness (“It’s just another day / Wasting our lives away”) and moments of clarity (“Sometimes I forget the people I meet are not the people for me / You see”). It’s also just a jolly good time with rollicking guitar lines and frontman Lewis Duffin’s cloak-and-dagger vocals.

Our ‘Barstool Preaching’ EP has landed! We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it. Thanks to Dave McCraken for producing the EP and being the referee during this process and thanks to all you lot for your continued support. Stream away here and let us know what you think. Onwards and upwards!.

The songs radiate youthfulness but Duffin’s precision-like lyrical scalpel ensures it maintains the mature, theatrical and visual edge that the earlier songs possessed and as a result, the songs now feel even bigger. Huge nights out and failed relationships feel almost mythic as the music maintains the sense that it’s on the edge of chaos, especially during opener “Tabloid Newspaper”, “Eddie’s Gaff” and “Loneliness of the Stage Performer”. It’s music to while away the night to, drinking, singing, dancing and only remembering parts of it in the morning.

There remain elements of those bands on the ‘London band’ playlist in the instrumentation and vocals, but other sounds leak through; Brit-pop pub staples such as Blur, Pulp but most notably The Libertines and Pete Doherty. “I always listen to Pete Doherty when I struggle for lyrics,” says Duffin. “He’s got everything, great lyrics, great melody and great hooks.”

The five-track EP culminates with “The Ballad of You & I”, an accomplished recounting of being dumped, filled with great lyrics, great melody and, you got it, great hooks. It rattles with the raw energy of those potent first releases; balancing it with the richness of blazing horns and organs oozing seaside nostalgia that build to the cathartic finale reminiscent of early Beirut or The National. Duffin sees “The Ballad of You & I” as the shape of things to come. “It’s definitely my favourite song on the EP,” explains Duffin, “and I think musically that is the sort of song that we would like Hotel Lux to be writing – that sort of vibe.”

The Last Hangman has just hit a million streams on Spotify!. Thanks to the people behind Peaky Blinders for choosing the track for the latest series of the show and to everyone who has followed us.

The Prospect of Whitby is London’s oldest riverside pub, having hosted earlier chroniclers of every-day London life such as Charles Dickens and Samuel Pepys. It’s also where Hotel Lux shot their music video for 2017 break-out “The Last Hangman”, a song depicting the enigmatic 20th-century British hangman Albert Pierrepoint. Duffin still appears stunned by the synchronicity. “It was absolutely perfect. This pub was literally around the corner from our flat in Wapping and we were in there one day and we just noticed the noose. We said we have to film the video there.”

“The Last Hangman” is reflective of Hotel Lux’s other early releases “Envoi” and “Daddy” that caught attention; songs built on irresistibly mythic characters, most notoriously, the unsettling pedophilic character in “Daddy”. These grand sweeping tales are backed by swirling sounds that grow to a rousing chaos: Sam Coburn and Jake Sewell’s bluesy roots rock guitar lines ping and permeate, Cam Sims’ bass taunts and dominates and Craig Macvicar’s drums prance and trot before bursting into unsolicited gallops. When the jaunty keys and organ sounds reminiscent of The Doors and Dr. Feelgood get thrown in by Coburn, the music becomes almost mesmeric.

“The Last Hangman” and “Envoi” were crafted in Fareham, a market town just outside Portsmouth where they grew up. When asked how they all met, Duffin skips over his, Coburn & Macvicar’s first band Clues, insisting “they mostly tried to rip-off The Clash” and mentions they knew Sims from other bands playing in Portsmouth and Duffin knew Sewell from college.

Barstool Preaching’ EP out April 24th via Nice Swan Records.

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