In the waning phases of the mainstream trend of epic music (think hair bands sans the tight pants) that is leading way to the more mellow tendencies of singer/songwriters (still long hair, but now with more emotional depth), it is definitely a listener’s market.
From the reemergence of crooning on the radio to the flair of accented vocals weaving tales of golden grand pianos, you could really take your pick of albums and EPs and you’re bound to find that diluted middle ground pitching itself as something unique.
But one musician turned musical entrepreneur turned singer/songwriter has found it in himself to take a step away from the chaos of being a punk rocker and running an indie label (if only for a few moments) to craft something heartfelt, mellow, and genuinely surprising.
Stephen Beebout, of Urban Scandal Records fame, has put together a four-track EP that shows us his softer side all while staying true to his roots and to himself. Hotel Eddystone taps into a rarely explored area of a musician’s abilities. When the common practice for musicians is to amp up and be heard, Beebout purposefully worked to keep things quieter; all while maintaining a vocally punk style of lyrical delivery. The dichotomy has hints of darker singer/songwriter styles of the late 60s and an old-school Unplugged session. Superficially the sound appears slightly off with an almost analog façade, but if you give it your full attention there is something alluring about this Hotel.
Creating an ambiance of simplicity with reflective lyrical choice, Beebout leans heavily on acoustic plucking. The pragmatic approach from the Strange Bloom front man will immediately leave those with punk expectation wondering what they got themselves into. But the reality of the line walked on the EP is one of tamed romanticism; one that, in its whittled down presence, is like a poetic angst played to tape, packed away in a box for years only to be rediscovered long after life has happened. It honestly is a fascinating, albeit slightly haunting, change of pace for not only Stephen Beebout, but for the singer/songwriter trend picking up steam. The big difference here, however, is that Hotel Eddystone isn’t trying to bite off a part of a trend, it just happened to come to life at a time when everyone else wishes they could be as honest.
Greg is a co-founder and regular contributor to Nanobot Rock