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Hotel Hotel: Cactus Hands Hotel Hotel - Cactus Hands
MP3 EP 2017 | Silber 227
1 track, 24 minutes
Listen on Silber | Listen on Bandcamp | Listen on Spotify
Recorded in 2009, Cactus Hands is the first half of the follow-up to The Sad Sea.  The band expanded from what I think of as their classic three piece line-up (guitar, violin, drums) to have piano, bass, & a second guitar.  Soaring shimmering instruments, this is post rock from Texas.

: Listen to Cactus Hands

: Press Release
Austin-based band Hotel Hotel broke up just as their album “The Sad Sea” was released, and this one twenty-four minute track is all that exists of what may have been their follow-up album.
It’s a single, slowly unfolding piece of progressive post-rock built around slow drums, atmosphere-bathed guitars and a manic multi-tracked violin line skitting around almost at random. Piano and bass sit politely in the mix.
At times the track pulls you in two directions at once, at once both frenzied and sombre, with some stereo panning emphasising that even further. A quarter of the way through, the violin temporarily departs as we shift into another section, with a more traditional-ish broad Texan slide guitar noodling. Once the violin returns it drifts into a slightly folkier arrangement, before we come full circle; the manic line returns, then fades again as the twangy elements return. Just as you begin to wonder whether the whole thing is cyclical, the final quarter develops a slightly more determined rock swagger, building to an emphatic close.
It’s a shame that this is a leftover from a longer work that will apparently never be finished, but it’s good news that it saw the light of day.
~ Stuart Bruce, Chain D.L.K.

Possessing a cinematic sheen to it, Hotel Hotel’s “Cactus Hands” feels akin to a mystical sonic journey. The way the song builds itself up feels powerful. A muscular though not overwhelming presence of the rhythm helps to drive the sound forward. Everything swirls around in a constant state of flux. Strings, tribal drums, steady bass, all of it works together. One of the most incredible things is how this loose a sound has all the players listening to each other, working together to avoid solos instead offering a beautiful representation of group play. Melody, exploration of texture, these are the things that come to give shape to the spellbinding sound.
Nearly silent at first the song comes into focus with great care. Sounds bubble up to the surface their origins not entirely clear. Guitars have a gentle layered approach as their softness helps to get the rhythm fully started. Upon the first glimpse of the percussion a primal beat rests at the very heart of the sound. Quite limber, the way the song seems to softly float gives it a mystical quality. Upon the strings entering the mix the entire pieces becomes increasingly more passionate. At first the strings have a distant quality to them but over each cycle they become closer and closer, infused with a spirited passion. The ebb and flow of the piece, from symphonic sounds to something approximating jazz, is majestic. By the finale of the song everything settles down into a careful, fragile rhythm before it simply collapses under its own weight.
Hotel Hotel delivers an intimate, emotionally charged performance with the radiant style of “Cactus Hands”.
~ Beach Sloth