Hotel Lux - Hands Across the Creek

 Hotel Lux release their debut album Hands Across The Creek, on The state51 Conspiracy. The Portsmouth / London band released a critically acclaimed debut EP in 2020 and have spent the subsequent period writing and honing this debut LP, which is produced by Bill Ryder-Jones. Standout track 'Common Sense' takes songwriting influence from The Beautiful South and lyrical inspiration from RMT strikers and trade union leader Mick Lynch. The use of direct and plain-English reveals an incisiveness and a considered contemplation of modern Britain in 2022.

With new guitarist Max (of fellow South London band LEGSS) bringing a “scratchy and harsher, more tone-y Telecaster sound” with him in 2020, the roots of Hotel Lux’s transformation were soon in place. The band’s classic influences — Dr Feelgood, The Stranglers and Ian Dury — would mesh with the sounds of artists like Neil Young, Brian Eno and The Waterboys as Hotel Lux spread their wings while remaining faithful to their roots. (It’s a truth reflected in the album title — a phrase Lewis picked up from his Dad’s mates, which he believed to refer to the Portsmouth-Fareham connection.)

Vulnerability seems to creep in throughout the album. The songs were predominantly written in a rehearsal space in Bermondsey over a period of lockdown when ‘work meetings’ were allowed. Over the course of a few months, as tensions grew and friendships trod carefully along a tight rope. Through many, many ‘work meetings’ - Hands Across the Creek was birthed.

The band then decamped to The Wirral, near Liverpool, where they found further inspiration in the marina, the local Morrisons and a producer and kindred spirit in Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral; Arctic Monkeys; Yard Act) — who also contributed piano to the record. It was here that the band’s multi-faceted influences, £20 Casio keyboards and experimentation with omnichords, violins and marauding song structures finally fell into place. With rich emotional peaks matching the band’s signature self-effacing wit, and as many jangling guitars as there are squiggling organ hooks, the results have proven emphatic.