It’s a bit of a dreary day up here in Minneapolis. It’s a good day to just lay on the couch with a good book and a candle going on the mantle but I have too much new music to check out for that. Right now I have the taste for something that will give me a boost of energy that I need to get through this sleepy Wednesday afternoon. With the new EP from The Hostels do just that? Let’s take a listen to ‘Reset’ and see!

“Liar Liar” kicks this all too quick five-song EP off with a bang. Well, maybe using the word bang is a bit dramatic. Honestly, this opening track is super chill and comes complete with an undeniable sense of swagger. Although it doesn’t blast off or come with a giant explosion of sound, it comes with an undeniable infectious energy and a mood that made me smile from ear to ear. I have a giant stack of albums to review and a list that goes on for pages but, out of all of those, this is the release that stood out to me today and as I listened to this opening track, it was clear why. Clear vocals reign supreme throughout this first track but the super fun indie-pop based instrumentation can not be ignored. Really, the balance of everything in this opening track is flawless and it had me so excited to hear the other four-track while dreading the fact that in under twenty minutes, it was all going to be done.

The title track, “Reset”, continues to showcase the undeniable swagger and grit of The Hostels while bringing just slight darkness to the infectious poppiness that was laid out in “Liar Liar”. Although just as fun and energetic, there’s just a little bitterness in the vocals that I didn’t notice coming through on the opening track I really liked the shift. It gave you a whole different side of The Hostels while making sure you understand that these guys absolutely have their own style and sound which will not change regardless of the mood of the track. At just under five minutes long, this is one of the longer tracks on the album but it doesn’t feel like it. A driving bass line and slamming drums really make things feel like they’re moving faster than they actually are and, before I knew it, this rockin’ track was over and my house was being taken over by “Sheep”.

“Sheep” continues to expand on that moodiness and slight darkness I heard and felt in “Reset”. There’s something just a bit more tender about the vocals in this track creating an almost ballad-like vibe but the overall instrumentation keeps this track from going too slow or feeling too calm. I loved how, although the vocals completely shifted and really, when you listen closely, the instrumentation did to to give this more subdued vibe yet there’s no denying that this is another track from The Hostels. It’s still just as powerful and solid as the first two tracks and really an absolutely stunning show of restraint on the band’s part.

“Take A Hint” was an instant favorite of mine on this all-too-quick EP. It starts off with an ear-wormy guitar part before diving into an infectious little bop that could have lasted hours and I would not have complained one bit. Much like “Reset”, this is another fairly lengthy track on the album yet it seemed to hurry by but not before I got a taste for the beautiful lyricism of this band. Their words are not complicated or convoluted. They are raw and very heart-on-your-sleeve styled which typically comes with a sense of rawness but not with The Hostels. Although you can feel the weight of each and every word, the overall sound of this band is so polished and perfect that it doesn’t feel overly emotional until you really start listening to the inflection of every word. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an emo kid at heard so lyrics like this will always hit me but it was nice to not feel like I was being dragged down into the dumps by the overall feeling of this track.

The Hostels end this amazing EP with “Woods”. I’ll be honest, I was a bit bummed as an acoustic guitar kicked off this final track. I was so loving the dance-filled bliss I was feeling in my heart but the amount of warmth that this final gorgeous track brought me was just as amazing. Again, I found myself so struck by how raw the vocals were while the track had a very polished sound to it. Again, like “Sheep”, although a slower and more somber track there is no denying the power in this final track and, although I would have loved a full band sound to end this amazing journey, there’s no denying the strength that this track leaves this album with.

My Favorite Track(s): “Take A Hint”

For Fans Of: Subtle Grit and Swagger; Powerful Lyrics; Infectious Beats

Mosh-ability: 7 out of 10

What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie slept on the back of the couch; Autumn slept upstairs

How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8.2 out of 10

My Overall Rating: 8.7 out of 10

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