There are new-old songs from The Hotelier released on streaming services today. It’s not The Hotelier I fell in love with this time last year. But that’s OK, because so often I discover a band backwards anyway, diving into its back catalog after the initial introduction. In this case, it’s slightly publicized release made it easier, and a bored, blank mind devoured the spoils.

At first listen, “It Never Goes Out” feels a lot more conventional pop-punk than “Home, Like No Place There Is,” in a freshman band kind of way. It’s brighter. It’s faster. It’s definitely not as dark. But the roots they grew from are quite obvious,  in all these moments of sprawling, spitting struggle and big, sad chords with gang chorus vocals that harmonize and dip and sway. But their focus and tightness was at least as strong in 2011 as it would prove to be later – the whole album is less than 30 minutes, not one of them a throwaway.

These songs are, for the most part, built around guitar hooks and the now-familiar heart-attack lines of desperation. “Lonely Hearts Club” plays like some kind of post-pop-punk musical mash-up, with so many vocalists and hooks galore. “Vacancy,” so far, is my favorite, followed by “An Ode to the Nite Ratz Club.” The couplet rhyming “way too serious” and “damaged wrists” is the best kind of rhyme, smart and original and visceral, the kind that appeared almost exclusively on “Home, Like No Place There Is,” the kind that are worth learning and singing and replaying and replaying and replaying to the point of back-of-the-hand memory, because how lucky it is to find something familiar that makes you feel.



“You’re so old now. Your bearings are shot. 
You’re a caved in roof. You’re falling apart. 
Your nights are spent lying on the couch hoping to forget…

You can’t fix this because it’s burning down.
You can’t fix me because I’m so burnt out.

When that sun crept over those stairs we were lighting fires on our hands. 
We held the fate of everything we loved in our hands. 

The strain in my back has left me here. 
I keep choking on my fears, on my loose ends. 
All the strength leaves the ghosts alone.

Oh, we are the same.

You can’t fix this because it’s burning down.
You can’t fix me because I’m so burnt out.

~Vacancy
The Hotelier, It Never Goes Out