THE DISLIKED - Hotel No 25

The Disliked - Hotel No 25

14 songs
47:32 minutes
***** ****


Not much has been happening lately with the formerly quite busy ska punk band The Disliked. Their last studio album My Parents Went To Eldorado... came out way back in 2008. As happens so often with Luxembourgish bands, this break was due to studies at universities in different countries. Now the musicians are back at home and have found more time to play together. The new album is called Hotel No 25 and comes with some surprises.

First of all, this is a concept album, about a hotel in the Caribbean where strange people meet. This reminds of a sunnier version of Wes Andersonís Grand Budapest Hotel, but the long writing process behind this album proves that this is just mere coincidence. From a musical perspective, The Disliked are acting also more relaxed as in the past. The band showed already on their live album The Royal Show their talent as unplugged musicians, but this time they have chosen a different path. Itís hard to imagine that this is the same band that wrote the punk hymn Outsiders nearly a decade ago. And it is to the bandís credit that they still play that song during live show, thus not denying their roots.

But letís check back into Hotel No 25. The short intro Welcome allows the introduction of the different musical instruments. The sextet has meanwhile added a trumpeter to their line-up. Walk is a very catchy piece which offers, due to the trumpet part, ska moments, but the bandís rhythmic and relaxed attitude shows a closer affinity towards reggae. No Stress is definitely the bandís leitmotif, as can be heard throughout the album. On tracks like KC Jones Gang and Time, the bandís punk past is still shining through occasionally. But they are open to many different influences. The rousing Colonia comes with definite rock and soul elements, and the single Le Captain contains dramatic moments. The two songs with French lyrics, Inquiťtudes relatives and Lez‚mi(e)s, come with such an authentic feeling that they sounds like straight out of the Parisian banlieue.

Even though The Disliked are clearly not shying away from the most different genres, their major outlook lies currently in the reggae movement. Usually I prefer my music faster and harder, but Hotel No 25 is the exception that had me enthralled from the beginning. But then thatís no surprise, as I have been fond of The Disliked since their early days, and a disappointment would have been quite out of the ordinary.

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