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Albums Of The Week: Hotel Mira | I Am Not Myself

The good news: They're a Canadian alt-rock band that doesn't sound like every other Canadian band. The better news: They know how to write some damn catchy songs.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following their recent string of chart-topping singles, Hotel Mira — the venerable West Coast quartet steered by frontman/songwriter Charlie Kerr — have returned with the hip-swerving, passionately pop-contorting contemplation of identity I Am Not Myself. Boasting anthemic and soaring choruses, the 12-track record refuses to sacrifice the group’s sheer rock ’n’ roll energy. I Am Not Myself was recorded in various studios across British Columbia alongside producers Adam Kasper (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Ryan Worsley (Fake Shark), Steve Bays (Fur Trade, Hot Hot Heat), Parker Bossley (Fur Trade), Louise Burns, James Younger and more.

A lot has changed since the early 2020 release of Hotel Mira’s breakthrough record, Perfectionism. That album’s finely honed and honest lyrics on mental health and personal struggles took the band on their biggest tours yet, building a passionate fandom across North America. As Hotel Mira’s profile grew, vocalist Kerr was undergoing a time of transformation himself, writing the bulk of I Am Not Myself while traveling between Vancouver and his adopted home of Los Angeles. While Kerr admits his anxieties over the move bled into his lyrics, he soon realized I Am Not Myself’s mix of autobiography and tragi-comic character portraits likewise reflected a profound loss of self.

Photo by Lindsey Blane.

“I kept going back to the same word, which was ‘Identity,’ ” he says of the connective threads running through the album’s 12 tracks, further suggesting that I Am Not Myself — its title a key line from Dancing With The Moonlight — takes place within various points of an identity crisis. Sometimes, that means breaking free from the social constructs that others impose on you (Eventually); other times it means gleefully — perhaps even chaotically — lobotomizing yourself while in the throes of young love (Fever Pitch, King Of The World); other times, it means digging for truths through the blurriness of all-night party (Dancing With The Moonlight). “Drugs and alcohol come up a lot,” Kerr suggests of the latter. “You know, sex, fame, and all of that feels tied to this idea: ‘What am I getting away from by diving into all of this so deeply?’”

Through it all, Kerr and co. are working with an increasingly raw and determined sensitivity. On I Am Not Myself’s closing The Age Of Detachment, the vocalist distills the album’s themes of love, loss, identity, and the embracing of community with a heart-pounding pledge: “I want to take off the armour.” In I Am Not Myself, Hotel Mira have found the profound pathway to connect it all.”


Photo by Lindsey Blane.
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