VIOLENT FEMMES ‘Hotel Last Resort’ – CD


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Almost 40 years on from heralding the dawn of modern folk-punk with their self-titled debut, Violent Femmes remain something of a sonic law unto themselves. In fact, long resistant to second-guessing, the Milwaukee trio’s whole M.O. could be distilled to wielding idiosyncrasy in tandem with pure accessibility. Produced by Ted Hutt, their 10th full-length studio release Hotel Last Resort features guest appearances from Stefan Janoski and Tom Verlaine.

Rousing lyrics, earworm-strong hooks and great harmonies show the band in their element, the content taking a political bent at times. It’s a collection of music that is poised and deliberate, provoked and provoking. Not a record to be taken at face value, it begs for a conscious listen, start to finish. Highlight track “Paris to Sleep” is a skeletal ode to simple sanctuary that, if nothing else, is testament to the Femmes’ capacity to muster something special from unfussy arrangements

Violent Femmes haven’t lost their touch at burrowing deep, and Gordon Gano’s vocals remained miraculously unchanged since their first album. Hotel Last Resort follows the formula the Violent Femmes have been perfecting since their inception, delivering an above average batch of their wiry, smart, and sometimes tortured songs. It’s a solid representation of what they do well and an impish and occasionally truly insightful good time.

*Also available on 12″ vinyl