Excerpt: “What the world need now is a band that spins round and round so fast that it can create sonic whirlwinds of such size that your ears cannot ignore them and should you need evidence that such bands exist then you should tune your ears to the sound of Seattle based band Hotels. Much as Morrissey could make something out of insignificance, Hotels make what could have been eighties synth rock revisited into something full of drama and just a bit different. In fact they have gone and done a concept album about a secret agent and his nemesis. Only “On The Casino Floor” isn’t an excuse for self indulgence for, whilst reverential to its influences from the days of drum machines and padded shoulders, this is an album with a sense of direction. The songs throw in the kind of noises that suggest an Atari video game was a source of inspiration but there is no doubt that the necessary support is there to hold up the substantial ennui in Blake Madden’s laconic vocals (never better illustrated than in the unrestrained disappointment of betrayal to be found in the words of “Sleep In Fame”). True, the songs do merge into one but that, surely, is the point. You don’t just pull a song out of an album like this and expect it to make sense and, yes, retro is indeed the new, smartly dressed, secret agent dressed in black. Groovy, baby!”
Excerpt: “With their third release Seattle quintet Hotels are once again casting trembling post-rock and surf guitar lines across a synth-driven new wave backdrop. It’ an effective fusion, in which sombre riffs cut through tinkling keys and synthesiser or, in the case of The Bat Watusi, work together in an entirely spooky union. Lead singer Blake Madden adds another dimension to the sci-fi-meets-new-wave air, conjuring the occasional Ian Curtis comparison – especially during his more sedate moments in openers From The West and Lonely Islands. The record’ most interesting juxtaposition comes with Trouble At The Consulate, which sees a borderline Bond Theme guitar line running through an upbeat, spacey re-imagining of Love Will Tear Us Apart. The ’80s influences are strong, but the retro-futuristic edge makes this less a rehash and more the soundtrack to an outer space surf documentary.”
Excerpt: “A concept album of sorts from the Seattle band with a madly ambitious premise, too good not to quote from the press blurb. The plot concerns a “secret agent, his former mentor and current arch-nemesis, and a nefarious prince’s plan to destroy Earth during the grand opening of the universe’s only outer space casino complex” (!). This would be good enough in itself but happily the musical chops match the scale of the ambition, with elements of surf-rock and post-punk, a dollop of film soundtracks, as well as a hint of decadent and very welcome lounge. You may already have had the great pleasure of hearing first single The bat watusi, a wonderful Dick Dale-style bassline strapped onto a louche vocal with ray-gun synths in pursuit. A shimmering suite of tunes overall, which eschew standard verse-chorus structures but still retain a firm grasp of pop dynamics (for example, the delirious crescendo of From the west, the glorious wall of sound of the title track, the John Barry-like uplift of Sleep in fame). And at the centre, Blake Madden’s sonorous croon. Highly recommended.”
Excerpt: “Two years after their well deserved critically acclaimed sophomore album Where Hearts Go Broke the Seattle-based sci-fi pop band Hotels releases their third album; On The Casino Floor. A seven track concept album that moves their cinematic sound close to fulfillment.
On The Casino Floor tells the story of a secret agent, his former mentor gone bad, and a devious prince’s plan to destroy the universe’s only space casino complex. Not surprisingly this gives a soundscape made out of spaghetti western images, and romantic Bond-like moves, added just a dash of Star Trek. A most charming combination…. Hotels have with On The Casino Floor delivered an almost epic musical storyline for a space movie that were never made. But, I sure would have been first in line to see it, just based on the magnificent soundtrack.”