Label: The state51 Conspiracy
Released: 27th January 2023
Finally arriving with a debut album that has more than taken its sweet time to get here, Hotel Lux have created something that could have only happened with the benefit of taking a breather. The Bill Ryder-Jones produced ‘Hands Across The Creek’ is a record that at last finds the band in a place where they could stop second-guessing themselves, and instead concentrate on wandering down some delightfully eclectic musical avenues without worrying about what anyone else thinks.
The record takes in so many different influences and inspirations at times that it becomes like a musical lucky dip. Opener’ Old Timer’ might be a little on-the-nose with its “They reckon I could rip off The Fall” line (and attitude), frontman Lewis Duffin swaggering through some of the early tracks like he’s holding a pint of ale in one hand and jabbing a finger in your chest in the other. It’s a little slice of heaven for those who like their post-punk vocalists talking rather than singing, though mercifully for those who are finding that style wearing a little thin that’s only one element to a charmingly ramshackle and pleasingly weird album. Shades of pub rock are chucked into the mixer alongside hints of Terry Hall and Ian Dury, the band shuffling the pack on a song-by-song basis and dealing in something both fresh and familiar.
At its best when it slows itself and drops the swagger entirely, moments like ‘Morning After’ and ‘An Ideal For Living’ show Hotel Lux in a whole new light. Full of charm, and unafraid to bare their souls, it’s the sign of a band full of confidence about who and what they want to be. ‘Hands Across The Creek’ was worth the band taking their time over, and will be worth your time in exploring too.