Hotly-tipped indie sorts Hotel Lux have today unearthed their first new track since March. Titled ‘Tabloid Newspaper’, it’s out via a label they’ve newly signed to: Nice Swan Records. This tightly-curated label – with a formidable A&R – has given rise to alumni Pip Blom and Sports Team so big things are in the works.
Taken from the Portsmouth-raised yet London-based band’s upcoming debut EP, which is titled Barstool Preaching and out (enter date), the track has been impeccably produced by Dave McCracken (Ian Brown, Pip Blom).
And, in keeping with the band’s style – and the bulk of the label’s roster – the instrumentation is traditional handmade rock n’ roll: a straight drum beat, thunderous bass and choppy post-punk guitars underpins singer Lewis Duffin’s black-humoured lyricism.
On ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ – if we consider the band’s following statement about the song: “That old saying of the journo’s cut, paste and twist is the same in songwriting. Just no-one admits it. These three verses and a silly chorus are a confession” – we see there’s a self-deprecating protagonist. One who questions their integrity as a songwriter. One who pokes fun at the rhetoric appropriated to sell music – ‘be cathartic, deep’. In other words, the song begs the question: Are singers structuring their take on the lyrics to fit the mould they’re taught makes a song good? Possibly. ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ can be heard as a light-hearted exposé of those who are playing games of smoke and mirrors. Equally, it’s a morbid reminder of the sabotaging role the tabloids can play in people’s lives.
‘Tabloid Newspaper’ follows on in the style and witty feel of their March 2019 self-released 7” single ‘English Disease’, which is a tongue in cheek dig at lad culture.
This light-heartedness is relatively new for the band. Dig further back into Hotel Lux’s back catalogue and you’ll see it gets a lot darker.
2017 debut single ‘Envoi’ is evocative British realism; ‘Daddy’ is about paedophilia, written from the victim’s perspective; darkly-psychedelic slow banger ‘Berlin Wall’ is a timely, relevant attack on divide and conquer politics.
Lastly, ‘The Last Hangman’ is a discordant guitar-led epic about the English hangman Albert Pierrepoint. This has been synced in Peaky Blinders Season 5 finale.
Earning this synch has given them a spurt of momentum, but the large majority of their following has been built up through touring.
Feverishly received wherever they go, the response to their gigs at London pub venues, such as The Windmill and The George Tavern, led to support slots for The Chats, Slaves, Fontaines D.C., Shame and more. Packed out gigs at the UK festival circuit (The Great Escape and Y NOT and one in one out shows at Manchester’s
Neighbourhood, Cardiff’s Sŵn and Lincoln’s 2Q) have further cemented their reputation. Impressive, considering this is all before even having an EP or a label. But with that now in place, the feeling is they’re only just getting started and 2020 will be theirs for the taking.