My Hotel Year – Breathing Patterns

My Hotel Year
Breathing Patterns

When your only Internet access is at the public library – sandwiched in between a drooling, pit-stained whale who has beached himself at some kiddie-porn site and an irate woman who is unable, apparently for hours on end, to print out some hideous clip-art border for a baby shower – your research abilities become somewhat diminished; therefore, all I know about My Hotel Year is that they are from Orlando, Fla. and have been characterized (not disparagingly) as “emo.” This seems to have something to do with the way that they alternate rather predictably from quiet sensitive-guy verses, guitars whispering to each other behind the vocals, and rockin’ weezer-esque pop with increasingly belligerent vocals. OK, that’s a slight oversimplification, as the band is capable at subtle crescendos in addition to dramatic jumps in volume.

“Breathing Patterns” starts off almost inaudibly, the swallowing and lip-wetting of the singer being just as noticeable in the mix at this point as his vocal lines like “You’ll never know how you say the things you say and I’m listening, I’m listening for my name…and I’m wondering who’s to blame” and “Its ok, its alright, its all inside your mind.” These comprise pretty much all of the lyrics in the song, and despite their passionate delivery, they still come across like the empty pop cliches that they are. What at first seems promisingly creepy, as the singer hovers over someone in their sleep, is washed away in a sea of bubblegum once the rest of the band comes in with their cavalry of chunky guitars and hollering, indecipherable background vocals. There isn’t really a chorus to speak of or a verse, just two alternating states of quiet and loud that play off of each other in various interpolations, with new layers being added to both dimensions as the song progresses towards its conclusion. Such repetition is deceptive though and is skillfully obscured by the way that the music is performed. Rather than try to hypnotize you with cyclical phrases, My Hotel Year enables the listener to forget that she has just heard a particular riff or lyric. This is accomplished by never sitting on a riff or lyric for more than a few bars before starting the cycle over again with miniscule differences. Because of this attention-span bereft approach, the songs could almost be commercially viable – except that they don’t rely on any particular catch-phrase or hook that really stays with you after having heard the song.