Simon Joyner Hotel Lives

A wonderfully crafted record brimming with polished pop songs from an artist with a sterling reputation for emotionally resonant music, Hotel Lives raises the critical bar even higher for Simon Joyner. A masterpiece of gently plucked strings, quietly tooted horns and, the best instrument of all, Joyner's own trembling voice, Hotel Lives takes us to that Leonard Cohen after-world that Kurt Cobain longed for. The sound is galvanised by solid production, courtesy of long-time collaborator Michael Krassner, and porcelain arrangements by Fred Lonberg-Holm. While not showy enough to stand out as album of the year material, like Nick Drake's Pink Moon, Hotel Lives is one of those records that will resonate with fans for years - decades, even - to come. (Truck Stop)