The Hotel Charlie - The Hotel Charlie
Record Label: None
Release Date: October 2009
The quality of Australian music should not be judged by the limited amount of mainstream garbage that actually makes it far enough for the average listener to hear. We don’t all jump around in school shorts at age 50. We definitely don’t all whore out our sound to twelve-year-old girls. The quality of Australian music is scrambling for some attention in the overcrowded "underground" scene. Fortunately, one band that's starting to break from the pack is The Hotel Charlie, and on the back of their self-titled EP, it’s not hard to see why.
The Hotel Charlie’s catchy brand of rock fills the speakers from beginning to end with just over twenty minutes of pleasing vocals and impressive instrumentation, all in meticulously measured quantities so as to please even the casual listener. Opening track “Ready, Friendly, Fire” delivers hard-rocking guitars and a sneak peak at the vocal abilities Timothy Hay will display over the course of the EP. The track is fun, energetic, albeit loud, noisy rock (think early Gyroscope), the kind of music I’d like to hope gets radio airplay.
“Neon Bullets” is a smooth transition for the tone of the EP, with a much deeper sound provided through David Smith’s distinct bass riffs and a slower, more powerful vocal effort from Hay. The influence of Saosin is noticeable in these slower songs, though Hay doesn’t attempt to replicate the same range as Anthony Green or Cove Reber. Hay’s vocals hold their own without trying to impersonate the aforementioned, and separate The Hotel Charlie from other imitations.
Chunky chords combated with drifting lead guitar makes for some lively, catchy rock tracks, melding technical ability with pop sensibilities. The Hotel Charlie exhibits an ability to write songs for the masses, whilst still being able to satisfy those who look for more than just a catchy hook. “Travesties” and “From the Party Line to the Assembly Line” both express such traits particularly well; though they tend to sound a little too similar at times.
“You At First” ties off the EP with some memorable vocals, epic choruses, and fantastic drumming from Andrew Phelan, who plays solidly throughout the entire EP. Hay seems at his most sincere here, though the song cuts short of closure, finishing in a build up of tension without release. Luckily, it just leaves the listener wanting to listen through once more.
Not a slave to trends, The Hotel Charlie has worked hard to create the music they want to, rather than try to paint themselves into a certain scene. In doing so, they have developed enjoyable, well-written music that draws on many influences and appeals to many listeners. Three years of work has paid off, as they have created a sound they can call their own, rather than a handful of forgettable rock songs.