Monday, August 18, 2008

Reviews:: Hotel Lights Firecracker People

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Back in 2006, I was obsessed with the debut release from Darren Jessee. Hotel Lights was a perfect collection of gentle pop songs that focused on the moments we all take for granted, but Jessee made them seem like the most important seconds of the day. The slow pace of the piano heavy tracks radiated yellows, oranges and golds, giving off a gentle warmth despite the melancholic subject matter.

Darren is back with his follow-up record, Firecracker People, and it's after a few listens I'd say it's even better than the self-titled debut. I'd like to think this record will help him get known for his solo work, not his old band (although one of the stand out tracks is a new version of the BFF track Amelia Bright), as it shows a talented song writer taking a big leap forward.

Almost every song on Firecracker People floats effortlessly downstream. A road trip, heartbreak ; no matter what the situation the textures of the piano compliment Darren's voice perfectly and little flourishes in just the right spots thicken up the tender admissions. On the surface you might think he still follows the same recipe he did last time out; beautiful, sombre ballads supplemented with spikes of energy (like the synth driven Norina) but this time around his new rhythm section helped immensely. They add more punch and as a result the songs seem denser.

When we interviewed Darren after the first record came out, he said, "IN MY MIND , HOTEL LIGHTS IS A COLLECTIVE OF INDIVIDUAL MUSICIANS WHO CAME TOGETHER." Personally, I find collectives often create records that play like short stories from different authors. Settling into a full time working relationship helped Jessee hone his sound and create a cohesive record. From the opening note until the closing bars of the amazing Run Away Happy, Jessee and his band draw you in with songs you can't help but let repeat over and over again.

Posted at 2:57 PM by ack :: 2 comments

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At 6:44 PM, Blogger Jack did sayeth:

Hotel Lights are great. What's Robert Sledge up to these days?


At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

Great Album, I wanna love the new stuff more by my favorite is still Amelia Bright.


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