When: Sat., Jan. 14, 7 p.m. 2017
Part of Tomorrow Never Knows.
Massachusetts emo group the Hotelier often seem up for a challenge, and with last year’s Goodness (Tiny Engines) they certainly assembled a list of elements that could have sent people scrambling. There’s the spoken-word piece that opens the album, the interludes speckled with lullabies, the drums that smack away high in the mix, and, most obviously, the album art that consists of senior citizens in the woods wearing nothing but their smiles. The band didn’t so much win their uphill battle as much as shoot up the incline like Vin Diesel in a tricked-out Dodge Charger—and if Goodness’s potential problems illustrate anything, it’s that the Hotelier is one of the best young, ambitious musical acts around. Earnest, challenging, and euphoric, the record balances the band’s forward-thinking ruminations on life’s complexities with their penchant for pulling off anthemic melodies with visceral bursts, the kind that feel emotionally unmoored to the structures that brought them to life. “Sun” is an antidote to the thought that emo is represented by immature and hostile spins on romantic woe—the song’s approach to the intricacies of love and loss serves as a learning experience for anyone at any age. I feel better for having heard “Sun,” and contemporary music is better because the Hotelier exists.