Audio Mixer: Brian Paulson.
Recording information: Montrose Recording, Richmond, VA.
Photographer: Marc Mauldin.
Futurebirds' third long-player, Hotel Parties, finds the alternative country-rock sextet sticking to its warm and pleasing Big Star, R.E.M., and My Morning Jacket blend of sauntering pop-country-psych while lyrically exploring themes of dualism and contradiction. The amiable, guitar-twangy title track, for instance, ponders life on the road and the inconsistency "Hotel parties are exactly what we need/Hotel parties always get the best of me." Elsewhere, the dreamy, trippy "Slow Talkerz" with an experimental instrumental intro later notes, "They say that you want me/You say you want everything." The subject of relationships gone wrong is also on hand in the uptempo "twentyseven," which delves into the angst of a 26-year-old struggling to find reliable friends and romances ("I'm turning 27 soon/I never thought I'd still be shooting for the man on the moon/My eyes have never looked so blue"). Other album highlights include the sparkling, jangly, and psychedelic "Paranoia Letters" and the chord-rich "Deadbeat Hits," about the quest for a hit record and its unseemly aftereffects. Thoughtful and shimmering throughout, Hotel Parties was co-produced by Atlanta studio wunderkind Drew Vandenberg (Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers, Of Montreal), who brings consistent coherence to the lush, amiable guitar tunes and their rotating lead vocalists. The album will likely appeal to those drawn to the easygoing yet complex style, as well as those of unfashionable guitar solos or down-to-earth lyrical rumination. ~ Marcy Donelson