Two Merge Records artists play Emerald Lounge on Thursday, March 22. Showtime is 10 p.m. at Emerald Lounge. $7. You can read about The Love Language right here. Learn more about supporting act Hospitality here:
Hospitality’s debut album on Merge Records hits like a cool breeze, rising like a bright bubble on an updraft, easy and bright. But there’s also a bite: “Friends of Friends” varies between the terse punch of percussion and lilting minor keys, not necessarily ready to play nice.
It’s Amber Papini’s girly soprano that underscores each track, staking a claim in the quirk-pop territory of Elizabeth and the Catapult and Melanie Horsnell. But bassist Brian Betancourt and drummer Nathan Michel round out the trio, adding levity and flourish.
Hospitality (based in Brooklyn) is best at the juncture of all those elements — and that’s where, on their recently-released self-titled album, they spend most of their time. The quirky, the thump, the cuteness, the shadow of a sneer. Dreamy, panoptic “Julie” is cinematic and moody, but it doesn’t match the energy and intrigue of songs like “The Right Profession” (where drums snap and guitars snarl through reverb) or hooky lead track “Eighth Avenue,” which sighs and swoons and reads like a New York street scene washed clean and waiting for its big screen kiss.
“The Birthday” is darker, but it still breathes. Here, Astrud Gilberto meets Debbie Harry for a rooftop dance off. (Speaking of, the rocked out, horn-studded outro, “All Day Today,” would be a fine choice for a dance off.) Smart lyrics are knitted between choruses of “da da dadadadada.” And “Argonauts” could be culled from Tennis’ track list, only instead of a cruise on a yacht, Hospitality is “in the boat to Ellis Island.” Still, the salt air is palpable, as is the gentle rock of waves and the siren call of a holiday just out of view.