It’s perhaps only right that Beat Hotel are less of a band than a loosely-gathered creative collective, given that the ‘original’ Beat Hotel, a dingy residence at 9 Rue Gît-le-Cœur in Paris was home to a loose-knit community of writers and artists including William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Sinclair Beiles, Harold Norse, and, less obviously, Derek Raymond. It’s synonymous with ‘Naked Lunch’ and the Dream Machine’ and late 50s / early 60s bohemianism.
This Beat Hotel is based between Brighton and Plymouth, and is ‘the occasional manifestation of an idea for a band, that Arash Torabi (The June Brides, The Distractions, The Granite Shore) and Paul Pascoe formed after meeting at a 1988 gig by The Jasmine Minks' (first band signed to Creation Records)’, and which many years later (many being a quarter of a decade later), would see their first release also featuring The Jasmines’ frontman Jim Shepherd.
This current incarnation features current and former members of The June Brides, The Loft, The Weather Prophets, Distractions, Mudlow, Mojo Fins and Lolita Storm, and mines a seam that straddles indie-rock, post-punk, and 60s psych-pop rather than referencing a divergent milieu based on experimentalism.
Prefaced by singles in the form of the bright and buoyant 90s indie blitz of ‘Feel It’ with a strong but breezy melody pitched against some big guitars, and the reverby ‘Bury it Deep’ which goes deeper and darker and more 80s alternative. It’s well done – as it ought to be, given the band’s credentials.
The other four cuts aren’t exactly shabby either: ‘Low Slung Loser’ blends gritty, balls-out blues with swagger and gutsy guitars in equal measure, a dash of Spear of Destiny circa 1984 for good measure, and ‘Daddy, I Drown’ is downbeat and brooding, balancing jangling indie with deep melancholy.
An eternity making, Beat Hotel’s debut EP is both consistent and varied, and while it’s tempting to ask what took them so bloody long, I suppose we should just be grateful it’s here at all.