10th album from the Violent Femmes, a band I'm almost certain everyone reading this has heard at least one song by. Hotel Last Resort features Television's Tom Verlaine on the title track for some free form noodling. Lyrically they've moved to something that feels quite stream of consciousness and surreal. I like it.
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'Blister In The Sun' has been an irritant to me ever since I first heard it. I hate how twee it is and that skippy rhythm really gets on my nerves. This is why I went into listening to the new album from Violent Femmes with a little trepidation. However, I quite enjoyed it. There are moments where it even reminds me of some of Tom Waits' later stuff, and the lyrics are good in a whimsical, beat poetry kinda way.
'Hotel Last Resort' is pretty standard Violent Femmes fare with some progression that's working wonders for them. There are plenty of uptempo songs and acoustic guitar strings strummed to breaking point. I enjoyed how the lyrics have moved from being angsty to being cynical. I love the naturalistic production on this record. It sounds like a tiny version of Violent Femmes are just perched in your headphones playing their hearts out.
This album has the feel of 'Highway 61 Revisited', with lots of ballsy, brash numbers. At times, Gordon Gano's voice sounds a little bit like Bob Dylan's. Words seem to fall over themselves and there's certain affected Southern drawl. He also sounds a bit like Patti Smith, especially in the higher registers.
Standouts are 'Paris To Sleep', a gorgeously meditation on travel, and 'Sleepin' At The Meetin', a pure banger that fuses Meredith Monk with Charles Amirkhanian. 'God Bless America' is even reminiscent of something off Scott Walker's later avant-baroque masterpieces. I want to hear more stuff like this from the Violent Femmes, but for now I will be content with 'Hotel Last Resort', a pleasantly surprising album.
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