Hotel Apache is one of those bands that I only recently discovered because I was making a list of syth-pop bands that reminded me of The 1975 (which you can read if you want to know of other bands with a similar sound) and they’re one of the bands that I’ve been coming back to over and over again. I listen to a lot of music regularly and I’m always trying to find new sounds so having new bands that have staying power in my brain isn’t something that happens on a whole lot.
I found out that this song was coming out because I was following their social media and they were hyping it up–the way that you do–and I was dancing along to it by the end of the first listen if not by the end of the first verse.
I think what draws me into this band is the vocals because they’re very legato and there’s an R&B kind of feeling to them which doesn’t happen a whole lot in pop music anymore.
I know that there was a time in the early 2000s where there were quite a few pop singers who did R&B but it was popular enough to be classified as pop music. Especially with female vocals–but that might have just been my exposure to it.
In either case we have a contemporary male singer who’s tapping into that style, while having synth-pop instrumentals behind him. I think it’s a cool mixture where they’re not trying to hit a classic 80s kind of sound with their vocals and they’re not trying to fight against the natural sound of their voice and instead making a juxtaposition of this R&B vocal with a more choppy, electronic sound. I think it works well because the legato vocal tends to be very warm in its sound and its placement and synth music tends to be very cold because it’s electronic-based so to put the two together gives the song a dynamic sound.
You get this kind of thing when an instrumental has a lot of synth aspects to it but then putting an analog instrument–a piano lot of the time–that doesn’t have any filtering. Those natural instruments will warm up and brighten up the sound. This song is doing that but with a vocal instead.
And I know I’m just going on and on about the vocal side of this but I want to just acknowledge the importance of cadence when you’re singing.
A lot of the time when people want a song to sound dance-y they tend to zero in specifically on the instruments–and I’m just as guilty of this–but I think a lot of the time what makes a song catchy and dance-y is because it’s vocal cadence.
If a song is easy and fun to sing then it’s a lot easier to get people to engage with your song. No one wants to find themselves in the car with songs that aren’t fun to sing and are difficult to sing. We all pick those songs that we love to sing along to at the top of our lungs–whether or not it sounds good.
I like the cadence specifically on the chorus of this song because it has a contrasting staccato feel to it where it’s very snappy and it has a lot of movement to the way that it cuts off sounds. I don’t know the best way to describe it other than for you to listen to it and sort of understanding where I’m coming from.
The point is that the song is broken up between these drawn-out, rounded sounding vocals in the verses and then you have these choppier, snappier vocals in the chorus and scattered between different phrases throughout the song. It changes up the rhythm without actually changing up the rhythm and it makes the song sound faster-paced even though it isn’t, if that makes sense.
My point is that there’s a lot of things in the song that I like and I’m excited that I have found this band and that they are releasing new stuff even in this crazy world that we are currently in.
Definitely go check them out!