Following the release of their 2018 single, Something’s Happening, The Blue Hotelhave become a mainstay on the Melbourne music scene.
Now the four-piece have delivered their sophomore EP, into the firelight, and it’s a stunning dichotomy of light and shade, fast and slow, electronic and organic, culminating in a kind of dreamy realism.
The Blue Hotel have just released their second EP, into the firelight, and it’s a landscape of emotion you could happily get lost in.
The up-tempo Amplifier opens the EP on a confident note. A driving drum beat accompanied by minimal, reverb-laden guitars is soon joined by the band’s trademark piano (played by Jenna Roubos), along with vocals from Roubos and Nathan Thomas, moving in parallel.
The song has a kind of Slowdive feel, with a lighter edge. The choruses make themselves known with the entrance of pulsing bass parts played by Jerome McKenzie, and soaring vocals diverging into harmonies. Classically-trained Roubos shines in the outro with elegantly quivering vocal sighs.
Next is the moody, synth-driven Don’t Believe In Your Love. Graduating to more electronic drum tones, the track has an almost trip-hop atmosphere, with syncopated hi-hats and a half-time feel played by drummer Benjamin O’brien offering flashes of Massive Attack and Zero 7. The verses and chorus play with moments of restraint, giving way to flourishes of reverb-soaked guitars and piano. Roubos’ stunning vocals take centre stage in this track.
There are moments where her delivery recalls that of Hannah Reid from London Grammar. This is particularly apparent when the driving four-on-the-floor kick enters about three-quarters of the way through the song, giving it an unexpected (yet perfectly suited) dance feel.
Satellites cuts in with another confident, upbeat beginning. Acoustic guitars provide a warm bed of sound, whilst a catchy lead line is commandeered on the electric. Thomas’s vocals are more prominent in the verses with a shoegazy-lilt.
The verses have a real ease about them, and when the chorus hits, it hits hard, with the change of beat halting the motion. Yet, just as effortlessly, the song transitions back. It’s a breezy tune that showcases the band’s ability to melt between feels, whilst ultimately maintaining power.
Perseverance is more similar in tone to Don’t Believe In Your Love, with an ascending chromatic progression which makes for a slinky, seductive atmosphere. All the elements really work together in this track, the bass grooves and drum parts providing a slow yet punchy backdrop, and overdriven guitar acts as the perfect compliment to dreamy synth tones and Roubos’ alluring vocals.
The last track on the EP is Distant Voices and it works as a perfect middle point between the five songs, combining the darkness more prominent on the slower tracks, with the fullness of the band from the two faster tracks. There are moments of light and shade, with unexpected harmonic shifts, ultimately taking you on a journey – one you don’t exactly know where, yet one you know you definitely want to follow.
into the firelight is out now.