‘Goodness’ is a masterpiece of sound. The Hotelier are doing something a bit different. They’re moving from the heavily introspective, cathartic outpours and tangible emotional eruptions in ‘Home, Like NoPlace Is There’, into restraint and externality. They’re not losing parts of themselves, only reinventing their sound and discarding some of the heaviness that would disrupt the flow of ‘Goodness’. Lyrically reflective, it’s a record about individuality, belonging, peace, serenity and harmony. Restraint makes the albums rare points of release hit even more poignantly. Wonderfully tranquil and delicate riffs burst and blossom into the familiar Hotelier riffs of vigour, but this time these are harder to come by. A predominant focus on songwriting and raw spoken word is clear, with lyrics igniting a palpable warmth and zeal inside any listener, enough to make the hairs prickle on all of your limbs.
Rather than abrupt and sometimes coarse outpours, ‘Goodness’ is more collected. Although it still succeeds at being lyrically cathartic. It’s a bit like the tranquil ebb and flow of gentle waves after the tsunami of their previous release. You’ll feel a weight lifted as you float along with the tracks, carried on their steady course, leaving you composed. Ruffling papers and steady breaths in Holden’s opening spoken word piece pretext the tracks you’re about to hear. The unease created between the repetitive drum beats and Holden’s vocals as ‘Goodness, Pt. 2’ fades in, is deliberately disorientating. A potent riff disrupts the calm, making it one of the strongest and most obvious tracks of emotional release.
Beneath the uplifting and positive sound, the album is frequently questioning and full of lyrical juxtapositions which create a simmering uncertainty underneath the calm surface. Hiding behind the positive guise are The Hotelier – they’re telling you things aren’t permanent and emotions always change. From the summer “will you lay with me forever?” in ‘Sun’, to the winter of “collapsing walls around me, I need some brick and mortar” in ‘Settle The Scar’, oppositions are rife. It’s a thought-provoking listen, riddled with insecurity and more complex than it first appears. If there’s anything they’re trying to tell you to do – it’s to accept and keep moving on.
It would have been very easy for The Hotelier to create another scream driven album full of angst, making ‘Goodness’ a brave move – and an outstanding one at that. Reinventing their sound proves how determined they are to develop and not be tied down. Saturated with emotion, heart and soul are still very much present. It’s a sincere and uplifting album that is sure to open your mind. You’ll feel compelled to be open (hinted by the album artwork…), to discover more and to love harder.