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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Hospitality", indie-pop debut of the year

Hospitality- Hospitality

Yeah, I know, a big statement on the title, but Hospitality's fun, hyper-addictive, catchy as hell and quite peculiar, quirky indie-pop, deserves that sort of title for a post. If there's a better debut album this year, then 2012 should be one to be musically remembered.

The start of "Hospitality", the album, is unbeatable, terrific. "Eight Avenue", "Friends of Friends" and "Betty Wang". Upbeat, intricate indie-pop that makes you smile and "charge batteries". Full of melodies that stuck in your head, this is the sort of music that fits perfectly to walk/wander around the city on a sunny day. It will be a matter of time you'll find yourself humming along one of its irresistible choruses ("But I've got friends that are new friends"), or some of the one-liners where Amber Papini's shines. "If you leave New York/ I don't care, I don't care!

Because Papini's voice is one of the "miracles" of Hospitality. Kind of funny and strange (on Merge Records website, their label, they explain she learnt to sing with the English accent of Bernard Butler while listening to Psychedelic Fur's "Talk Talk Talk"), but also sweet, she will amuse you first, and then, once you have been disarmed, it will haunt you. Her peculiar vocal range and tone quickly becomes a trademark of the band, allowing to distance them from indie-pop standards. And Papini is a fine lyricist too, explaining stories in the songs that are not that unfamiliar for a whole generation of of twentysomething's-thirties trying to figure out what's next in their life, always with a refreshing wit and humour, not taking things too seriously.

There's a particular groove going on during the whole album, giving it a cohesion. Despite finding more languid numbers in its "middle section" like "Julie" (maybe the less impressive of the lot), the delicate "Sleepover", or "Argonauts" and "Liberal Arts" with its wonderful harmonies, towards the end, there's also space for some more fast-paced tunes, where guitars keep shimmering, intertwined with trotting drums and keyboards on "The Right Profession", "The Birthday" or the closer "All Day Today". Songs are wisely combined throughout the record, helping to make it a joyous, very fluent one. Like the good albums, "Hospitality" gives the listener the impression it ends too soon. So there's no other option that going for another "spin". Da-da-da-da-da-da/da-da-da-da.....

SCORE: 8,25

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