Label: Detail Records/BMG
Released: 16th July 2021
‘Oh Me Oh My’ offers an ominous introduction to Chet Faker’s ‘Hotel Surrender’. A haunting monologue musing the place of music and beyond collapses into an intoxicating jazz-enthused cocktail of soulfully unrefined vocals, jangling pianos and dark strings. It’s a permanent fixture on the menu for the rest of the album. That mellow pop that saw him become beloved to many on earlier releases still makes an appearance, yet the moody, lounge-jazz influences permeate ‘Hotel Surrender’ more than ever. It’s a dizzying combination.
Whether he is offering breezy experimentalism as he does on ‘Peace of Mind’, or playing with layers of texture and lower tones like on ‘I Must Be Stupid’, there is resounding sizzle throughout the ten tracks. When you think of the perfect summer song, the tendency is to bring something disco-pop and relentlessly upbeat to the table. Faker completely subverts the season. They may well be dark and introspective but tracks like ‘Feel Good’ do exactly what they say on the tin. From heady falsettos and delicious funk guitar, they invite you to be enveloped by the groove in an unanticipated way. It’s the perfect summer album for the snippet of summer it captures: it’s humid, sultry and brims with irresistible heat. It simmers with the intensity of a long summer night, intimate and tempestuous.
With those unrefined vocals and the all-encompassing sonic world Faker builds, it’s hard to pull yourself out. He swoons and swindles his way into your heart, and by the final track, ‘In Too Far’, there’s an irony to the title that becomes all too amusing. As he croons ‘we wade too far’ repeatedly, you become all too aware of how you have indeed surrendered yourself to Faker’s charm. He delivers a wink as you emerge from the final moments of ‘Hotel Surrender’, ready to hit play all over again.