Portsmouth/London post punk/pub-rock five-piece Hotel Lux have announced the release of their debut full-length album 'Hands Across The Creek'.
The 10-track record was produced by Bill Ryder-Jones and will be out on January 27th via The state51 Conspiracy. Pre-order your copy here.
New single 'Common Sense' takes songwriting influence from The Beautiful South and lyrical inspiration from RMT strikers and trade union leader Mick Lynch. The use of direct and plain-English reveals an incisiveness and a considered contemplation of modern Britain in 2022.
On the single, the band say, "Common Sense is about how the media are aware that apathy is the greatest enemy of social shift, how we are being taken for fools and we’ve become numb to it.”
Once contenders for the mantle of Britain’s most self-conscious band — guilty, by their own admission, of pandering to audiences’ tastes following their move from Pompey to London — Hotel Lux have crafted a bold and bright identity that is truly their own on their brilliant debut album Hands Across The Creek. All it took was for their wildest dreams to be dashed.
Early, clattering pub-rock singles had received widespread acclaim, but “there was always that little voice in your head,” says bassist Cam. The anxieties were hardly quelled when the band’s big break in America proved a non-starter in 2020 after SXSW Festival was cancelled. The announcement came just as Hotel Lux completed the fundraising incentives for their planned appearance in the wake of the ‘Barstool Preaching’ EP release. “We were gutted,” vocalist Lewis Duffin remembers.
Lewis and Cam, alongside guitarist Sam Coburn, drummer Craig MacVicar, and new members Max Oliver (guitar) and Dillon Home (organ; violin), were left stumped: “it was the most fragile we’ve been”, says Cam. With touring off the cards, the dream of releasing an album was what kept them going – even though it took “a long time” and “a lot of arguments” before they settled on a sound to call their own. “Craig and Sam got hooked on ESG,” Lewis explains — referring to the ‘80s NYC post-punk band known for their funky rhythms and simple refrains. “I hated that. It was doing my head in.”
But with new guitarist Max (of fellow South London band LEGSS) bringing a “harsher, more tone-y Telecaster sound” with him in 2020, the roots of Hotel Lux’s transformation were soon in place. The band’s classic influences — Dr Feelgood, The Stranglers and Ian Dury — meshed with the sounds of artists like Neil Young, Brian Eno and The Waterboys, and, in the end, Hotel Lux found themselves “doing the whole ‘haha, that’s what the fourth album will sound like’ thing” on their first, says Cam.
They decamped to The Wirral, near Liverpool, with Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral; Arctic Monkeys) as multi-faceted influences, £20 Casio keyboards and marauding song structures fell into place. Since the recording was completed, Hotel Lux have already found some vindication: they managed to make it to SXSW this year, after being invited back by the organisers. Now, Hotel Lux look set to become something their early critics might have not foreseen: a band full of confidence, with the ability to transcend their peers and carve out their own corner of the British music tapestry. “It feels really important,” Lewis concludes. “We spent a lot of time worrying.”
Check out the album's tracklist and watch the video for "Common Sense", below.
Hands Across The Creek Tracklisting:
1. Old Timer
2. Common Sense
3. National Team
4. Eastbound and Down
6. Morning After Mourning
7. An Ideal For Living
8. Points Of View
9. Easy Being Lazy
10. Solidarity Song
Tags: Hotel Lux