Hotel Last Resort

Violent Femmes

Add It Up/PIAS, 2019

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Well, here we are, another Violent Femmes record. This time they have a new drummer who plays a Weber grill instead of a traditional kit and it’s incredibly annoying. When Gordon Gano raps on “Another Chorus,” I’m reminded of the dull and boring tracks found on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Freak Magnet. Having to redo the great 1994 track “I’m Nothin’” is rather redundant and does nothing to better the song. On th other hand, “I Get What I Want” is an intriguing enough song and showcases how well Gano can still sing after these years when he wants to put himself up to it.

Maybe it’s my shoddy hearing, but on a lot of the material, you can hardly hear any real percussion, and that’s such a disappointment coming from such a great, percussion-led band. The fact that the songs are super short again just like they were in the late ‘90s is worrisome, as if there wasn’t enough thought put into the songs. The title track, featuring Tom Verlaine of Television, is probably the best track here and is enriching while still showing off what the band are capable of when given the opportunity. “I’m Not Gonna Cry,” while still very brief, is full of exotic sounds not really heard on a Femmes disc since the ‘80s. “Free Ride” sucks; there is nothing more needs to be said about it. Then there’s the version of “God Bless America” that closes out the record. It’s just bizarre and so difficult to listen to. It’s hard to tell if it’s a joke or if it’s completely sincere, but all I can say is it definitely the strangest song I’ve heard on a Femmes record and that’s really saying something.

Ultimately, following up a great record like We Can Do Anything, the band let themselves get stale and worn and went back to the old tricks that gave us lesser discs like Freak Magnet and Rock!!!!!!! It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for these once-revered icons.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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