Hotel Ukraine - Gift for Fiction EP
Tim Miller 17/03/2007
Hotel Ukraine are, in fact, from London, and the four members have generously offered five tracks on this EP, determined to forge their way into the consciousness of the London (and perhaps Ukrainian?) music scene.
The first track 'As I Come In' is an uptempo, pleasantly harmonious affair, with gypsy beats and some rather chirpy guitar picking, almost Johnny Marr-esque in its gentle offbeat melodies. Rosie's vocals (full name, with star written all over it, Rosamund Pike) are confident and forceful, backed up when necessary with some choice harmonies.
Hotel Ukraine deal in the ironic reality of 'late nights and early mornings' in their lyrics, with some accurate truths about how it is to be a yuppie these days; 'Waking up with a new tattoo next to a face you can't put a name to' in 'Boxing Diabolical,' but they back these stories with some sumptuous layers of chords and harmonies, as in 'Sleeping Lions' and the tranquil, summery 'The Things You Love.' The musicianship is carefully woven together, but with a perky atmosphere that gives off an almost live quality.
As so often on extensive EPs however, final track 'Stir Me Up' sees Hotel Ukraine lose concentration a little, with a fairly standard jangly backdrop compared to the detail of the other songs here. A catchy little harmony in the chorus does redeem it a little, though.
Other than that minor blip, this is a charming EP, with sunny songs of shimmering guitar melodies and neat vocal harmonies. They remind of a band called Daddy Long Legs who are still, presumably, knocking around London themselves, with a similar lo-fi sound. Hotel Ukraine clearly have a musical quality that must come across well live, and on record it's perfectly pleasant. The relaxed atmosphere might lack a little punch for now, but Hotel Ukraine know how to deliver a knockout blow with their melodies, and they seem set to press on from here and move up in the world.