Hotel Lux Release new track ‘Tabloid Newspaper’
I will shamelessly admit that I have been waiting for a new Hotel Lux single to be released since last March. After seeing them in a couple impressive live outings since, I have grown more and more convinced that they are one of the most interesting bands making the rounds in the UK at the moment, both in sound, style, and concepts. There isn’t anyone else at the moment that sounds quite like them. And, quite possibly, there isn’t anyone else that is hitting the nail on the head quite as much as them when it comes to putting out music that is timely and relevant to the current mood and concerns of the moment we live in.
This latest single, Tabloid Newspaper, out on November 29th for Nice Swan Records, confirms the trend from its very title. The ways in which a certain section of the mainstream press tends to (mis)represent the facts, and the impact this has been having on the country’s politics and our daily lives, have been a hot topic of discussion in this run-up to General Election. If you’ve thought of one particular publication by looking at the cover artwork, you’re not alone.
The track is certainly pointed, and makes no mystery of it – yet I would argue that, all considered, it is less of a political commentary and more of a manifesto-come-j’accuse about the music industry and the ways bands have to move within it.
This is first of all in the lyrics, which are as merciless as this band has ever been, and – somewhat ironically – starkly sincere in their admission that a songwriter, like pretty much any other artist, is somewhat of a professional liar, making things more interesting because ultimately he needs to sell them (“I like the idea of bending a tale just to make it a better one”). The self-reflection goes as far as evoking the band’s previous banger of a single, English Disease (does the direct quote from the lyrics mean we’re now in the Hotel Lux Extended Universe?), but is just as applicable to pretty much every other artist who is perhaps less bluntly honest about it. We live in a time in which the music industry, more perhaps than others, has learnt to exploit parasocial relationships and get the fans hooked through the illusion that they may be the recipients, as if in close confidence, of the artists’ most sincere thoughts and emotions. This is what Tabloid Newspaper truly challenges, and it’s refreshing to hear.
It’s also a really strong track from the musical standpoint. There has been a debate on what genre Hotel Lux are actually supposed to be, with alternative rock somewhat prevailing as the general consensus, but I would argue that this is in fact the most punk they’ve ever sounded, from that brilliant slider of an intro to a guitar style worthy of The Clash when they were good. There are, it is true, some Britpop suggestions smoothly blending in, but the general sound is far sharper and packs a far heavier punch, which supports much better the weight of the lyrics. And vocalist Lewis Duffin plays around with a range that goes from the almost-melodic to the practically-spoken, culminating on a proud declaration of “I sing ’em out of tune” which is as close to a line out of a punk manifesto as it gets. In spite of this statement, though, the song is also pleasantly catchy. Twisted truths, after all, have to be palatable.
It’s a very enticing sneak peek into the EP due in 2020. A bit like a tabloid newspaper, but a lot less infuriatingly, Hotel Lux have us hooked, and waiting for more.
Hotel Lux – ‘English Disease’ Review – Click Here
Hotel Lux get Single of the Week – Click Here
Chiara was born in Sicily and lives in Cardiff. She’s a novelist and freelance journalist with a lifelong love of music, from glam to punk by way of blues and country.