The use of an interesting perspective had us filled with acceptance tinged with awkwardness when we listened to ‘I’m the Montparnasse Tower’ by Sean at the Hotel. Now he is taking us on a whirlwind adventure through the experimental tracks of How Pleasant Is the Life I Lead. When experimenting with an old cassette player to create distortion and noise, he started looking to create something that invoked the influences of his youth.
The result is an EP that has a little bit of everything thrown in from classic pop tines to ska-punk. As you dive head-first into the music, the interesting and experimental tones offer snapshots of life while blurring with the disorientation of the last year. If you want an EP that keeps you guessing while undeniably hooked, this is the one for you.
The EP opens with ‘Not Good’ which twinkles with an almost psychedelic feeling. The bells that chime in the high levels meet the waves of colour tones in the lower levels. There is a somewhat intense feeling to the melody that his vocals offer a reprieve from. As you are pushed and pulled by the waves of sound, his performance is a steady line that you can grab onto. While offering a steady line, the lyrics dive into insecurity and feeling like you are not good enough. The rather light overall feeling of the music tempers the darkness of the lyrics before leading you to something rather bright and happy.
‘Stay On Schedule!’ pulls you in with the vocals that have a great statement feeling to them. It is like Sean is making a speech that captures your attention. Below his vocals, there is a deep lake of sound that undulates with neon and pastel lights. The experimental vibes of the opening track are a little more subdued on this track, but they do make an appearance as they weave between the notes. The light touch of drone in the lower levels brings a heavier feeling to this track as it dives into the political world. As the song progresses, you are filled with a strange resilience to stay the course but this is contrasted with the feeling that this might not be the best idea.
The playful tones that open ‘Living Room’ have a slightly off-kilter feeling to them. When they drop for the vibrating feeling of the main melodic line, you are really thrown off balance. The steady movement of the low levels of the track helps you regain your stability but just as you are stabilising, a warped tone strikes. This is a track that really keeps you on your toes as you never know what is going to happen in the melody. The lyrics are inviting as they call for you to join them but there is something about them that creates a sense of distance.
‘Theme From Friends’ opens with a distorted waltz that is slightly gothic with a funfair edge to it. This drops for a toe-tapping beat that completely changes the vibes of the track. The vocals have a retro edge to them that is a wonderful contrast to the music. There is something really fun about this track that is a little at odds with the dark drones of the melody. As you listen to the track, you are filled with the urge to move around with a complete lack of coordination and just give in to the sound.
The EP closes with ‘The Last Time I Was in a Club’ that opens with distorted tones and electronic vocals. The feeling of the opening is like you are listening to something being played in reverse which is really interesting. The melodic movement has a rolling drum that tumbles through you and allows the lighter and happier feeling of the vocals to shine. There is a great contrast in this track in both the sound and substance that brings experiences we have all felt to life. The bliss of getting out and about is amazingly contrasted with the reality of the pandemic.
Sean at the Hotel hits you from all sides with an experimental sound that keeps you on your toes and has you wondering what his EP How Pleasant Is The Life I Lead has in store for you. Each track is inundated with experimental distortions and switching arrangement that keeps them really interesting. While the music is a feast of the unexpected, the messaging of the track are relatable and easy to connect with.