Hospitality’s self-titled debut album employs indie-pop sensibilities, infectious hooks, and dynamic rhythms to achieve a well rounded and convincing first effort. Hospitality has been long anticipated in some regards, since the band formed in 2007 and has only released one EP prior to their 2012 full-length debut. With its arrival, we have been given proof that good things come to those who wait.
The album kicks off with “Eight Avenue,” its steady hi-hat and snare, soft organ, and singer Amber Papini’s lighter-than-air vocals recalling like-minded bands such as Belle and Sebastian or label mates Camera Obscura. The track offers everything there is to love about indie pop and will certainly quench the thirst of fans of the previously mentioned bands.
The Brooklyn based group wastes no time proving they can travel other paths. The opening notes of “Friends of Friends” are heavier, the percussion is tom centered and choppy, and electronic synth and saxophone round out the mix. The band’s first recordings were done with K records mainstay Karl Blau, and this relationship shows through here in the frenetic, wavering sax notes. Third track “Betty Wang” moves back to a more pop oriented song with delicate background oohs. However, with it’s descending keys, sharp shifts, rocking builds, and fixation on phonetic sounds, it strangely resembles Streethawk II era Destroyer if the band were fronted by a small girl from Brooklyn.
These three tracks stand as a reasonable sampling for what the rest of the album has in store, but each track does offer its own subtle rewards. Hospitality makes good use of quieter elements at points, contrasting them with building drums and up-tempo rock riffs. Depending on the song, you may be off the couch and dancing around the living room as on “The Right Profession” or pensively gazing out the window on a drive as on “Julie,” but in either case, you’ll keep your toe tapping
Hospitality possesses that quality that all great indie pop bands have: the ability to create soft, sweet songs or fast paced pop music without ever losing their audience to a lull in the beat. The 2-4 emphasis and steady snare crops up often, but not overly so. Late in the album, on “Argonauts,” the group tries their hand at more flowing and epic songwriting. It works well, but it isn’t an example of what they do best. They close out strong with handclaps, choral singing, saxophone and clicking percussion on “All Day Today.”
The best pop records don’t drag on, but rather leave the listener excited at their end. At 10 songs and just over 30 minutes, the band makes their case without belaboring the point and leaves behind plenty to be excited about. If you still want more, you can always put it on repeat, and we suspect you will.