Fire Records, the home of alternative music veterans Giant Sand and Mission of Burma, has taken a leaf out of labels such as Slumberland and Fortuna POP! and bagged themselves a beauty of an indie pop act in Hospitality.
Central to the success of this Brooklyn trio’s self titled debut album is the singing and songwriting of lead singer Amber Papini. Her turn of phrase, effortless vocals and keenest of ears for a catchy single are only hinted at on opener Eighth Avenue, a kind of Belle and Sebastian rip. But as the album progresses track after track of hook laden, memorable, potential singles follow.
Among the highpoints is Betty Wang, about a clean living former colleague of Papin, at a “financial day job”, according to the accompanying press release. It’s a joyous sing-along and one of my favourite tracks of the year. The chorus of another singalong, The Right Profession, is another that stayed with me long after the album had finished.
It is not just Papini’s pop savviness that warms me to Hospitality. The arrangements are lifted markedly by some smart saxophone arrangements, most notably on second track Friends of Friends and end track All Day Today.
I can’t fault any of the 10 tracks. In fact It sounds like an awful cliché but as the saxophones and jangly guitars drift off on the final track All Day Today I didn’t want this album to finish such is its warmth and sense of fun. Great debut, great find for Fire Records and a surefire contender for our end of year Top 20 album list.