Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford
Hospitality emerged in 2012 with a fully-formed, immediately likeable sound. The trio spent years kicking around the underground in New York, honing their style into something airy-yet-propulsive, perfectly characterized by the single “Friends of Friends” off their self-titled debut. On the strength of that album, they were suddenly thrust into the spotlight, leading to a lengthy tour that took them out of their Brooklyn comfort zone.
As to be expected, the added scrutiny (and miles) have now seeped into Hospitality’s crystalline sound. Their new album is simply titled Trouble, and frontwoman Amber Papini concedes that “most of the songs [on Trouble] are about everyday environments that arouse anxiety or unease.” The band workshopped the songs in daily morning practice sessions, bearing down on the musical core before adding any bells and whistles. Part of what makes Hospitality so compelling is their simple sound, but on Trouble, the group includes synthesizers and drum machines into the mix. It’s not some over-the-top ploy, though–the adornments are used for color instead.
The tension–between past and future, minimalism and maximalism–tugs at the corners of Trouble. Album standout “I Miss Your Bones” unfolds almost like a musical suite, stuttering its opening before cycling through hook after hook. The sweetness is undercut by a minor-key instrumental detour and the hazy chorus. The title could be taken at face value, or it could hint at skeletons in the closet. Whatever the case may be, it adds up to memorable journey from a young band continuing to find its way through the world.