Monday, August 20, 2007

Hotel Alexis: Goliath, I'm On Your Side review

Goliath, I’m on your Side
The Hotel Alexis
Broken Sparrow Records
In stores now

If Pete Yorn and Jeff Tweedy were to swap tunes on the back porch after staying up for 48 hours in Iceland, it might sound something like The Hotel Alexis’ Goliath, I’m On Your Side. This second effort by the New Hampshire-based group features the familiar doses of lazy Americana, along with a fleshed-out realization of the droning instrumentals at which they had previously hinted.

The album revolves around the hushed vocals and intensely understated musicianship of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Sidney Alexis Linder, who wrote and recorded the album in Spain and all across the U.S. His band’s tender approach to the music is on display throughout, and while they’ve drawn comparisons to Wilco, there is nary an aggressive outburst of Les Paul on the whole album.

Every song is severely personal; you listen in on a conversation during “Sister Ray,” and spy on a film noir lamp-lit conversation in “Suddenly, It’s You and Me.” Not all is so heavily dreary, though; Linder had probably been listening to Pet Sounds all day when he wrote “Silver Waves Crash Through the Canyon.”

By far the most surreal point of the album is the lengthy opus “Hummingbird/Indian Dog,” an utterly captivating fusion of instrumentation, static, sound effects, and Sigur Ros-like chants, all run through heavy echo. When it’s over, you’ll feel like you just woke up from a 20-minute dream.

Goliath, I’m On Your Side is hypnotic, pure and simple. Listen to this one with your eyes closed or on the beach at night.

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