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Hotel Two-Way


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Album Review

An album named for a Japanese rendezvous spot proves a lovely taste of Americana in this underexposed indie release. Tryst, a Brooklyn four-piece, makes an impressive surge forward with this follow-up to 2003's Kids of Big Stars, drawing equal influence from the alt-country pensiveness of Wilco and the restrained pop sensibilities of Prefab Sprout. While not a concept album, Hotel Two-Way exhibits recurring themes, most visibly in the use of women's names for several of the song titles. Beyond those character sketches, there is a very consistent theme at work: that one can't have everything, but one can have sex and temporary connection, and armed with that, one can bop through just about anything. It may be a faintly desperate ideology, but Tryst expresses it sensitively and with genuine passion, most successfully on the melodically lovely "Jessica," which offers a thoughtful and cliché-free lyric, choice harmonies, and a light, airy bridge. "Alexis" is another standout, the band deftly navigating the intersection between modern rock and alt-country, while "Abigail" playfully celebrates middle-class love as references to Freud and voicemails at work complete the picture. A few tracks wander afield from their musical comfort zone, but Tryst's combination of restrained, upbeat instrumentation with clear and plain truths make this an album well worth seeking out.

Customer Reviews


Tryst has been making fine pop for years and is a joy to listen to. They are upbeat and original with fun, intelligent lyrics. I especially love "Chain Reaction" and "Alexis." The guitar is fantastic, and the arrangement of the whole album is just beautiful. Weird that another review of this album seems so mean-spirited, and refers to guitarist "Slip Backbone"--not named among the band--wonder how he knew that.


Tryst is a lovely morning or evening soundtrack with a unique sound all its own. Ft. St. Jean, my own personal favorite, is melodious and catchy (in a good way) and it is joined by the witty Hotel Two-Way, infectious Chain Reaction and culturally inspired Balthasar's Song. TIm Cohan's rich vocals and Ellen Highstone's ethereal harmony - along with the tight orchestral construction - create a truly pleasing and upbeat sound. If you can't relate to at least one of the songs on this album, well - you're not human. I highly recommend giving it a chance.


This whole album reeks of manufactured crap-pop played by unattractive thirtysomethings. Having listened to this whole album, I realize that every single line is an overworn and hackneyed phrase, e.g. "love is a very special thing / takes you by the heart and makes you sing / la la la la la la la la la." Moreover, these unoriginal, poorly-written lyrics are sung with terrible lead vocals and mediocre (at best) back-up. The slow, melodic (if you can call it that) pace of the songs makes it seem like each "song" (as long as we're using this term loosely) will last for an eternity--an eternity in a new-age, bad-sounding, cookie-cutter pop hell. The only thing worth a penny on this album is the occasional dulcet interlude by Slip Backbone.

Hotel Two-Way, Tryst
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Rock
  • Released: Jun 14, 2005

Customer Ratings