The Hotelier, Crying, Breakfast MUFF at Stereo, 21/1/17

Breakfast MUFF get me excited quickly though with their range of catchy songs, they garner popularity and enthusiasm without sacrificing lyrical or musical integrity.

Each of the three members has a microphone and whilst in the process of admiring the drummer’s classy and elegant voice and style on the kit, she emerges from behind the drums and switches with the bassist.

Curious though this is, and although the next song – now fronted by Simone – is equally enjoyable, they swap again.

Three times over the course of three songs do they swap, each member fronting tracks, supporting and taking the mantle of a different instrument.

It is clear how much fun they have together, how dynamic they can be and how much room there is for innovation in a set-up with three talented and operationally interchangeable artists.

Catching up with Eilidh, I’m told that Simone was originally to be the drummer only, but Eilidh and Cal grew jealous – leading to the hot seat action seen on stage.

This ostensibly results in a very dynamic writing process which shines through in the music which – although a little twee at times – is vastly enjoyable.

Next up is Crying, bringing an organic and wildly entertaining brand of dreamy and teeny bubble-gum rock to the stage.

The fullness of their sound draws attention away from the absence of a bassist or individual behind the somewhat prolific synth track.

Once you realise that the singer, drummer and guitarist – very talented though they are – are playing with a backing track, the shine is off the apple somewhat.

This band seems capable and diverse with some particularly incendiary guitar work; the drums are also of a very considered volume, subtly underpinning the rest of the music with technical flair.

They confer an air of subtle glam revival and they do so well; it is just a shame that they have to press play on the backing CD before starting.

The Hotelier play a great set, displaying their understanding of their music through well considered and pitch perfect vocal and musical harmonies.

It takes them a few songs to hit their stride and unfortunately it seems as if the band are more comfortable playing their new, more melodious music than their old, rawer, more emotionally veracious numbers.

On account of this, we hear some of the biggest crowd-pleasers from their breakout album near the start of the set – in the order they appear on record.

This very much feels like they are getting them out of the way for their new stuff.

After playing some new tracks and appearing more comfortable, their return to older tracks is accompanied by the melodiousness inherent in their new ones.

After playing songs from across their catalogue, a palpable sense of direction and a visible direction of progression becomes apparent.

Their tracks from Goodness – the latest release – tend to involve both guitarists and the lead singer and bassist, Christian Holden, singing in harmony.

This new dynamic works very well with the increasingly complex music of the release; it is clear from talking to Holden that this development is intentional.

He told me that The Hotelier has had increased harmony in mind since its inception, and that – following the desperate and dark nature of their last album – Goodness was a response to, and concerted move towards, this end.

He is not sure what to expect next from the band but is excited to watch it develop.

The last time the band were in town the promoters didn’t expect a turnout, so they were booked to play a free show in Bloc; when two hundred and fifty people descended on the small pub, chaos ensued; sounds like a warm Glasgow welcome.

Overall, this is a busy, diverse, multi-faceted and enjoyable gig with a good crowd; featuring three bands that differ in style, but perfectly complement each other.

Along with Holden, I am excited to see how The Hotelier develops and I can’t wait to catch them again.

More Photos

Words: Paul Aitken
Photos: Aimee Boyle

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