The American Hotel System – ‘Can You Hear It?’ EP

A new EP from Grand Rapids-based quintet The American Hotel System, Can You Hear It? presents a stirringly anthemic rock sound with thematic explorations of the human experience.

“This collection of songs came together during an intensely personal time, as we processed big life events like marriage, parenthood, mental health struggles, and the loss of loved ones,” says frontman Jacob Betts. “It’s a record about seeking meaning amidst the echoes of our souls.”

The opening track enamors with its steady rock drive and titular hook. “Can you hear it?” the vocals ask during a wave of melodic guitar riffs and bright synths, inducing replays with a peppy and accessible production. The subsequent “Tripping” casts a more patient, tender tone — also culminating in a synth-touched emergence, reflecting on how “my head starts spinning when I hear you call for me,” into a flourishing guitar-heavy, textural glow.

Another highlight, “Seattle” touts a nostalgic rock sound one would expect to hear on The O.C. soundtrack; it touts a punchy, emotive sound with lyrics exploring self-growth, escalating with anthemic spirit. Closer “Not The End” also compels, strutting the band’s atmospheric chops in its traversing from lush, spacey acoustics into stirring mid-point guitar jangles and orchestral lingering. The American Hotel System showcase hooky, accessible songwriting and anthemic production throughout the Can You Hear It? EP.

This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of November 2023’ Spotify playlist.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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