Hotel Books has returned to the scene with their third full-length album via InVogue Records, Run Wild, Stay Alive. The album brings perfect justice to the band’s raw character, an impeccable sequel to their last album, Run Wild, Young Beauty, released in 2015. From start to finish, the album unfolds as an honest story of pain, doubt and overarching hope.
Lyrically, each track contains the same gritty vocals and driving rock grooves that Hotel Books fans have come to adore. Vocalist Cam Smith’s raw poetry carries a tension, grappling with holding on to the past and aching for eternity. The longing in his voice lingers when he voices, “You are not coming back” in “Constant Conflicts.” His passion in the final build of “Broke Love” is the cup running over. He cries, “I’m on my broken knees, hoping these demons will finally leave,” with a choke at the end of “Friendly Crossfires.” His artistic identity is continually found in the reality of being human. The poet has not wavered in his undeniable ability to emote the deepest sentiments in vivid imagery. The freedom of Smith’s faith is found in the exploding gang vocals in “Every Day, The Same” and “Constant Conflicts.”
Underneath the verses, we hear pleasant guitar leads dance with the dense lyrical content, counterbalanced by thick walls of sound that hit behind the hooks. From the punk rock section in “Lesser” to the ambient wash of guitars in “Can You Do Me A Kindness,” Hotel Books continues to revive the freedom that we’ve always found in their music.
His artistic identity is continually found in the reality of being human. The poet has not wavered in his undeniable ability to emote the deepest sentiments in vivid imagery.
Across four albums, they’ve created a unified combination of clean reverb and a healthy dose of overdrive. Paired with a deep sense of dynamics found in the rhythm section, this album is their grandest musical endeavor to date. Among the musical excellence, we hear equally intriguing stories told in spoken-word, woven into jagged melodies. Referencing personal experience and even scripture, Smith walks us through his faith journey, stopping at every self-created monument along the way.
Run Wild, Stay Alive takes a refreshing approach to pain and sorrow, perfectly channeling it into music with a combination of power, tone and technique. Regardless of the listener’s personal beliefs, Hotel Books inspires conviction and contemplation that is more brilliantly colored than ever before.