Crashing Hotels - Advisory Act
Review by: Ashleigh Lowe
San Francisco’s Crashing Hotels first album, Advisory Act stitches together an ethereal mix of dark electric dance rock, brazen lyrics and sexy experimental interludes. For a first album, this shit fits like it shouldn’t and it’s all kinds of right.
Crashing Hotels’ brainchild Ao Anderson and drummer Tony Bednar blend twisting guitars, melodic synth arrangements and thumping drums creating an emotional range that begs attention. They manage to seamlessly merge up-tempo dance grooves and moody ballads building a dynamic sound that you’ll be involuntarily humming for days. Advisory Act is a bold entrance into the music realm, taking risks and smashing genres with a surety that solicits the question: who the fuck are these kids?
Crashing Hotels is the third musical incarnation of Ao Anderson (1865, Todd Durpin). Anderson began producing instrumentals and worked on several hip-hop projects, notably "The Sodium Girl EP" which made it to the CMJ Top 30. His interest in hip-hop quickly faded after touring, publishing and recording for several years, he unpacked his guitar and took on an introspective singer songwriter alias: Todd Durpin. His work has been published in several projects including the 2008 Orphic Pro ski film “Dead Air”, the 2010 Werehaus Productions documentary “The Recess Ends” and The 2010 World Cup Soccer Nike ads with Mr.Cartoon. After two years off from touring, recording, and surviving a serious DEA investigation with a looming triple felony/five year prison sentence; Crashing Hotels was assembled in 2013.
Drummer Tony Bednar is a seasoned music veteran having recorded and performed with Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly (Chairlift), Luke and Jesse Miller (Lotus), sat in at jam sessions with Jeremy Salken (Big Gigantic) and opened for Cat Power, The Roots, Galactic and Lotus at premier venues in Colorado. Bednar and Anderson first met at the University of Colorado.
The seven sexrocktica tracks on Advisory Act displays Anderson’s dreamlike and poetic vocals which create a moody intrigue. There is a muddiness to find meaning in some of the lyrics but I dare say this is very much the intention and a conscious decision by Crashing Hotels, challenging appropriation; instructing the audience to interpret how you see fit. The focus definitely fixates aural pleasure as apposed to storytelling tugging on your heartstrings. Advisory Act take some of the most familiar elements of modern pop music – three-minute running times; programmed backdrops; relatable romantic and sexual unrest and then cast them into Anderson’s world of wild beasts and imaginary doomscapes.
It’s not all smooth moonwalking however, with some repetitious vocals and slight synth saturation by the time you come to track seven... but if these are the only qualms (and minor quandaries at that) it’s certainly an exciting place to be for this San Franciscan based duo.
Advisory Act is a confident first album with Anderson and Bednar’s stubborn musical choices proving to have paid off.
Ao Anderson - Vocals, keys, guitar, sampler
Tony Bednar - Drums
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