Centered around the singer/songwriter talent of former Ben Folds Five drummer Darren Jessee, indie rock quartet Hotel Lights mixes amiably wistful AM-style pop and indie-pop on their eponymous debut. Having garnered some writing credits while with Ben Folds Five, it's no surprise that Jessee displays a knack for writing mellow and heartfelt songs that make the most of a catchy melody. Tracks such as "Miles Behind Me" and "I Am a Train," with their mix of acoustic guitars, synthesizers, and various electronic and eclectic instruments bring to mind the Shins and Grandaddy as contemporary touchstones, while the country-tinged "Stumblin' Home Winter Blues" is pure '60s folk à la Bob Dylan. This a low-key but nonetheless impressive first effort.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar