Nick Murphy returns with his first LP under the Chet Faker name in more than seven years, and the 10-track release is brimming with mindful enthusiasm. Hotel Surrender is a homecoming, a return to Murphy’s unique flavour of rock-influenced electronic music that has his instantly recognizable, honey-sweet vocals serenading listeners along the way.
The album begins with “Oh Me Oh My”, a six-minute upsurge of drums and didgeridoos that transports the listener to the sun-bleached desert landscapes of Murphy’s native Australia. From there, the record sets a varied yet cohesive course through a menagerie of piano riffs, swelling horn sections, and hip-shaking rhythms.
At times, a palpable sorrow bleeds through, most effectively in the form of “Whatever Tomorrow,” an emotive symphony of strings. But this untamed anxiety is ultimately absorbed by a yearning positivity, illustrated best by the aptly-named jam, “Feel Good,” that’s about good times and nothing else.
“We thought we were bigger than we were,” Murphy concludes on the album’s final track, “In Too Far.” There’s a genius to the Chet Faker melodies complemented by an ephemeral quality to his lyrics. Hotel Surrender lets go of expectation, settles into the eternal now, and opens up to the bloom of light that inevitably shines through.