As the release date of The Hotelier‘s third album, Goodness, is getting closer, this Massachusetts band guns another taste from their album. After we hear “Piano Player” last March, a fiery punk song that showcases The Hotelier’s musical virtuosity, I think The Hotelier can’t get any better than this. But they decide to fuck me and bestow “Soft Animal” upon their listeners.
The dynamics of “Soft Animal” is remarkably well-structured. Holden sings softly at the beginning of the song, “We were cloaked in the awning of night or early morning”, perfectly using matching figurative speech about nature and greenness. You still can notice Holden’s experience as a camp counselor in this song as he references, “Sophie’s on the bunk overhead reading Mary Oliver/ while I lay still in my bed.” As the tempo scampers and the drum grows louder, the song hits a boisterous chorus, bolstered by gang’s vocal on chorus which accompanies Holden’s wail, “Make me feel alive/ make me believe that all my selves align.” They use deer as a metaphor of caprice that comes and goes, but eventually it goes no matter how much we hold on to it (“In attempting to keep you to stay/ I am raising no alarm) and the show must go on.
Compared to “Piano Player”, “Soft Animal” is sprinkled with more grandeur and complexity, proving once again that they are one of the best punk bands now. This is one of The Hotelier’s finest moments.