In a world of streaming where the majority of chart toppers and heavily tooted musical acts focus on the doom and gloom, allowing us to wrap ourselves up in our feelings, Hotel Fiction pierce through the noise like a celestial light beam. Avoiding the modern trope of a debut album with morose singles, they instead create a dreamy soundscape where they allow your mind to wander as their rich intricate melodies form the world for you to enjoy. Their heartfelt lyrics never falter, always managing to find relatable moments within our lives, be it something sweet or painful, and turn it into a moment of catharsis for us all to behold. It’s the definition of saudade, a beautiful sadness that allows you to smile like a star on the darkest night whilst having a single tear fall down your cheek. Not music to cry with and not music to feel jubilant over, it’s music that makes you feel human and their debut album Soft Focus is a testament to this.
The whole spectrum of human emotion is captured within this LP. Be it nostalgic sorrow that comes from realising your childhood dreams might never become a reality, even though you can’t help keeping your head up in the clouds, in Astronaut Kid or the wondrous joys of summer with friends and the memories that live on forever in Daydrifter. No emotion is left unturned and no story is left untold, creating a rather mesmerising project that perfectly encapsulates everything that’s left us enamoured by this duo. But there is one track here that left us floored… the title track. Starting off quietly before exploding into life in beautiful euphonic explosion of vibrant colour, Soft Focus is magical in every sense of the word. It’s rare a song leaves me speechless but this did, for a few minutes I was left in awe by what these two had created and when the track finished playing, all I wanted to do was go back to a few minutes before and listen to that song for the first time again. The LP is spellbinding but that one track left my draw on the floor.