To gain a true appreciation for many of the excellent New Orleans-based bands you’ve been reading about in Noisey and Stereogum over the last year, it’s worth knowing Sun Hotel. The four-piece – led by the brusque vocals of songwriter Tyler Scurlock – also counts guitarist Alex Hertz, Native America’s Ross Farbe, and Woozy’s John St. Cyr as founding members. In early 2010, they, along with best friends and sibling band Caddywhompus, founded Chinquapin Records, a full service collective which quickly emerged as a quintessential inflection point for the city’s DIY music scene.
The timing of Native America and Woozy’s recent breakouts – showcasing Farbe and St. Cyr’s independent genius – are likely due in no small part to Scurlock’s restlessness while preparing Sun Hotel’s second full length album. At the end of the day, life doesn’t wait for perfectionism and every member has moved on creatively (and in Hertz’s case, geographically) since this project began. Nevertheless, when the thing finally arrives, it can indeed be perfect.
The long gestation period of "Rational Expectations" has distilled the final product down to the unsentimental core of what made Sun Hotel such an enchanting group to follow over the years. Their earnest ambivalence is suddenly and surprisingly devoid of pathos, their flirtations with post-punk are more angular and driving than ever, and there is an urgency and focus that brings to mind their thrilling debut EP. It’s a knowing swan song, perceptive of its finality but also comforting in its triumph.
For fans of: Yo La Tengo, Beach House, Maps and Atlases
Distro from Community Records.