Hotel Cola’s Headlight Eyes proves they’re masters of delivering sad songs with uplifting feelings

Guest review by Captain’s Bar events manager, Say Something Music label owner and promoter Scott Evans

Ahead of their sell out show at Captain’s Bar, Hotel Cola has dropped their third single of the year.

The band that seemingly came from nowhere are already shaping up to be one of Stoke’s finest bands. Their sound is something different – not unfamiliar, but it cuts through a lot of indie noise to find an almost American highway sound, in fact it is a bit closer to americana than indie in its roots. There are cult bands only known to those particular musos such as Songs:Ohio, Palace, Silver Jews and Sparklehorse where Hotel CoIa would sit alongside perfectly. I personally find this very exciting for the scene, alongside Finney, Johnny Nice Painter & Borogoves it helps to show that Stoke has a lot more to offer musically.

Similar to their previous two singles in atmosphere, Headlight Eyes is layered with lush guitars swamped in reverb to great effect. Excellently produced by Shaun Lowe at Prism studios the band definitely have developed a sound now that I’m sure will be present up to their debut EP/album.

The song drifts in slowly to silence before springing back to life with the introduction of beautiful and gentle vocals from Robert Harvey, the first chorus is followed by a whistling section, which is really effective. The band are clearly seasoned musicians as they deliver their craft perfectly, nothing is overstated, everything is exactly where it should be. 

Although musically you could describe it as melancholy, it would actually be perfect for a lazy sunny summer drive. They have captured that way of having a sad song that still gives you an uplifting feeling, The Smiths being the kings of that particular art. The band describe it themselves “Painting the picture of unrequited love, with succinct lyricism and delicate melodic interplay. The tension ebbs and flows throughout the story before fading out, as true many love stories do, into loneliness.” 

Whether the Prism studio sessions deliver an EP or a full album (full album please!!) is unknown but as a musical venture Hotel Cola have made an incredibly impressive start. A really mature sound that should appeal to a very wide demographic of music fans. 

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