Hospitality’s debut album is a collection of unsettlingly confident pop gems that squeak and squeal with cuteness. But cuteness, if you ask a band like She & Him for example, can only get you so far. These are sweet, round songs, but they have jagged edges. Amber Papini sings with a cooing, subtle British affectation, and the dry wit of her observational lyrics add a layer of complexity that propels Hospitality to another level.
Papini and her cohorts Nathan Michel and Brian Betancourt owe more than a little to bands like Belle and Sebastian and Kings of Convenience, who similarly combine fluorescent pop with razor sharp lyrics. Yet, this doesn’t feel like aping. It doesn’t feel like homage, either. It just feels like Hospitality is sliding right up alongside its peers.