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The Hotelier harkens back to a time when "alternative" meant, well, what it means. The Hotelier is a rock band, but it comes at the sound sideways and sometimes up and down.

The Hotelier
(Tiny Engines)
And let's not forget the preciousness. The spoken word/instrumental interludes that punctuate this album don't add much (to my ear), but they do serve as an announcement that this is not business as usual. Well, it would have been in 1989 or so, back when Eleventh Dream Day, Buffalo Tom and other wonky rock bands crafted some of the most tuneful whacktoid songs ever. But this is a few years down the line. People don't make music like this anymore.

Or, to tell the truth, people still make this music, but no one is really listening. It's a shame, but one that possibly can be rectified. I listen to albums when I get to work early in the morning (often, my first listens are at my desk). Our 23-year-old office manager heard me playing this album and--almost breathlessly--asked who it was. So that's a good sign.

I've always been a "good music is good music" sort of guy. I've also reviewed some 10,000 albums in my time, and something like three of them have had any popular success. That might be an understatement, but not by much. My ear is for good music, and the Hotelier sure have a lock on that. I'd love to see bands like this find some mainstream success. There's no reason why they can't, except that this is definitely not au courant.

Oh well. The Hotelier will have to do with me blasting this on my back deck. There are worse fates. Perhaps.

Jon Worley

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