Austin-based band Hotel Hotel broke up just as their album “The Sad Sea” was released, and this one twenty-four minute track is all that exists of what may have been their follow-up album.
It’s a single, slowly unfolding piece of progressive post-rock built around slow drums, atmosphere-bathed guitars and a manic multi-tracked violin line skitting around almost at random. Piano and bass sit politely in the mix.
At times the track pulls you in two directions at once, at once both frenzied and sombre, with some stereo panning emphasising that even further. A quarter of the way through, the violin temporarily departs as we shift into another section, with a more traditional-ish broad Texan slide guitar noodling. Once the violin returns it drifts into a slightly folkier arrangement, before we come full circle; the manic line returns, then fades again as the twangy elements return. Just as you begin to wonder whether the whole thing is cyclical, the final quarter develops a slightly more determined rock swagger, building to an emphatic close.
It’s a shame that this is a leftover from a longer work that will apparently never be finished, but it’s good news that it saw the light of day.