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Albums Of The Week: Hotel Lux | Hands Across the Creek

The South London pop-rock crew take stock of modern Britain on their impressive debut — while harking back to the glory days of Stiff Records pioneers like Ian Dury.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Hands Across The Creek is the debut album from Portsmouth / London band Hotel Lux. The followup to their critically acclaimed debut EP of 2020 was produced by Bill Ryder-Jones. Their use of direct and plain-English reveals an incisiveness and a considered contemplation of modern Britain in 2022.

With new guitarist Max (of fellow South London band Legss) bringing a “scratchy and harsher, more tone-y Telecaster sound” with him in 2020, the roots of Hotel Lux’s transformation were soon in place. The band’s classic influences — Dr. Feelgood, The Stranglers and Ian Dury — would mesh with the sounds of artists like Neil Young, Brian Eno and The Waterboys as Hotel Lux spread their wings while remaining faithful to their roots. (It’s a truth reflected in the album title — a phrase Lewis picked up from his dad’s mates, which he believed to refer to the Portsmouth-Fareham connection.)

Vulnerability seems to creep in throughout the album. The songs were predominantly written in a rehearsal space in Bermondsey over a period of lockdown when ‘work meetings’ were allowed. Over the course of a few months, as tensions grew and friendships trod carefully along a tight rope. Through many, many ‘work meetings,’ Hands Across the Creek was birthed.

The band then decamped to The Wirral, near Liverpool, where they found further inspiration in the marina, the local Morrisons and a producer and kindred spirit in Ryder-Jones (The Coral, Arctic Monkeys, Yard Act), who also contributed piano to the record. It was here that the band’s multi-faceted influences, £20 Casio keyboards and experimentation with Omnichord, violin and marauding song structures finally fell into place. With rich emotional peaks matching the band’s signature self-effacing wit, and as many jangling guitars as there are squiggling organ hooks, the results have proven emphatic.”

 

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