Hotel - Good Morning, West Gordon
By Eric Bodrero
I’ll be frank here: “Good Morning, West
Gordon” sounds familiar. It gives you that sense of déjà
vu, like what you’re listening too you’ve heard a hundred times before,
but you can’t really name the band, or where the music came from. Whether
that’s a good or a bad thing is your call. But that’s where the familiarity
ends. Taking the finest points of Wilco’s sound, intermingled with their
own lyrics, stripping it down to it’s bare-roots rawness, getting rid of
the white noise and annoying fuzz-pop, and making it honest and pure, One
Star Hotel’s second attempt at music-making results in a fine effort, and
one that indie/americana fans shouldn’t even think about missing.
“Good Morning, West Gordon” is a first-rate
sophomore effort from these alt-country rockers in which front man and
singer/songwriter Steve Yutzy-Burkey belts out magical, heartstring-pulling
melodies that wrap around that soft spot in your stomach and leaves a lump
in your throat the size of a grapefruit. Hailing from Philadelphia, these
four indie ballad-makers have a way of knowing and singing exactly what
you need to hear by walking up to your heart’s window, cupping their hands
to their faces, and peering in until they solve your life’s troubles via
Every track is bursting with an abundance
of acoustic guitar, wistful lyrical melancholy, and a heavy dose of sulking,
moody languish that will have you listening to certain tracks over and
over and over again. Actually, the whole disk will probably require an
immediate replay, as you’ll be captivated with the first run through and
undoubtedly for an infinite amount of replays after that.
But One Star Hotel doesn’t just stop at
acoustical sing-a-longs. They know how to rock as solid as any band today.
In fact, they take an approach with West Gordon that is noticeably louder
and more aggressive than their debut. However, this new musical angle in
no way stagnates their style, but affixes a sense of credibility to their
musical résumé that is already impressive as is. This is
pure musical brilliance that all fans of alt-country, Americana and even
pure country should appreciate, and more importantly, love.
That’s not to say that the record is flawless.
If there is a weakness here, it’s the lack of innovation. I know I heard
this same record several years ago. Some of the tracks on West Gordon sound
not only like other bands, but they start imitating themselves after awhile.
Not entirely a bad thing since the tracks are so excellent, but it may
make some listeners turn the other ear, especially Wilco fans who have
been there, done that.
However, at the end of it all, “Good Morning,
West Gordon” has the heart the size of the city they’re from, and even
more talent than that. This is an impressive second album, and one that
fans can really hunker down with, sip their favorite beverage with, and
get pure, unadulterated whisperings of heartfelt semblance that you just
can’t get from those thirty other bands they sound like. Philadelphia should
Hotel - Good Morning, West Gordon
1. Frustrated and Free
2. Can't Be Trusted
5. Falling Down
6. Two and Four
7. Same Town
8. River Drive
9. This Fall
11. Good Morning, West Gordon
12. In the Spring
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