On NYC trio Hospitality's sophomore full-length, they switch gears from the cutesy indie pop of their 2012 self-titled effort to full-on emotional drama. Lead vocalist and chief songwriter Amber Papini isn't wondering about 20-something hardships any more; her plight is more existential. On Inauguration, she asks, "Is this my life? Is this my fate?"
Her crisis unfolds within a volley of instruments new to the group's repertoire: drum machines, keyboards, even synthesizers. The songs work best when the band hits a middle ground between former quirks and a new appreciation for serious electronics. In fact, when they revert back to the old formula of a stripped-down guitar/bass/drum set-up, like on It's Not Serious, it feels flat and incomplete without the extra noise.
Papini's vocals seem scaled back, too - there's less energetic chattiness and more silent resignation. Well, no one said growing up was easy.
Top track: Nightingale