Well, if this record finally sees the light of day-new release date 12th September-it will be a minor miracle, having been put back and back since the band were originally signed to Maverick. There are similarities here with The Rising who originally signed and were then dropped unceremoniously when internal wrangling within the band failed to impress the record label. During this time the album release date changed almost on a monthly basis. The title of the City Sleeps debut has also changed, originally taking its name from the oldest song to appear on it ‘Walkers Ridge’ before being changed to ‘Hotel’. Worryingly the original title still appears on the Maverick website band biography. If City Sleeps could turn back the clock, perhaps they would have preferred to have signed to Fred Dursts Immortal label-when they still went under the moniker Smugface- who wanted the band’s services after the two parties were hooked up by Cold’s(RIP) Scooter Ward.
The deal with Maverick arose as a result of John Feldmann-better known as the lead singer with Goldfinger and producer for Maverick label mates Story of the Year-passing a demo to the record company power that be. Whether this proves the right move, only time will tell, but I have my doubts.
Superior emo with punk overtones is the order of the day on ‘Hotel’, think Story of the Year-Feldmann produces the whole affair-with better songs and without the hardcore influences. However as with many albums within the genre, it starts strongly and then wanes noticeably towards the end with the first seven songs proper being as memorable as the last four are forgettable. The rather laboured ‘Bones’ and the ironic sleep inducing ballad ‘Dreaming’ prove rather less of a draw than the dynamic ‘Prototype’, ‘Ordinary High’, the straight ahead rock of ‘Andrea’ or the phenomenal ‘Just Another Day’. In the end ‘Hotel’ proves to be an extremely good album, but remains three or four songs away from being an exceptional one.