Following their recent string of chart singles, Hotel Mira — the venerable West Coast quartet steered by frontman/songwriter Charlie Kerr — have returned with their first full-length release in...
Following their recent string of chart singles, Hotel Mira — the venerable West Coast quartet steered by frontman/songwriter Charlie Kerr — have returned with their first full-length release in over three years, I Am Not Myself. Their hip-swerving, passionately pop-contorting contemplation of identity sees release September 8 through longtime label Light Organ Records.
A lot has changed since the early 2020 release of Hotel Mira’s breakthrough release, Perfectionism. That album’s finely honed and honest on mental health and personal struggles took the band on their biggest tours yet, building a passionate fandom across North America. As Hotel Mira’s profile grew, vocalist Kerr was undergoing a time of transformation himself, writing the bulk of I Am Not Myself while traveling between Vancouver and his now adopted-home of Los Angeles. While Kerr admits his anxieties over the move bled into his lyrics, he soon realized I Am Not Myself’s mix of autobiography and tragi-comic character portraits likewise reflected a profound loss of self.
“I kept going back to the same word, which was ‘Identity,’” he says of the connective threads running through the album’s 12 tracks, further suggesting that I Am Not Myself — its title a key line from “Dancing With the Moonlight” — takes place within various points of an identity crisis. Sometimes, that means breaking free from the social constructs others impose on you (“Eventually”); other times it means gleefully — perhaps even chaotically — lobotomizing yourself while in the throes of young love (“Fever Pitch”, “King of the World”); other times, it means digging for truths through the blurriness of all-night party (“Dancing With the Moonlight”). “Drugs and alcohol come up a lot,” Kerr suggests of the latter. “You know, sex, fame, and all of that feels tied to this idea: ‘What am I getting away from by diving into all of this so deeply?’”
What’s sure is that Hotel Mira are as vulnerable as ever, and ready to share that rawness with others who may be facing these same challenges. “We set out with the idea of making anthems for aliens — really, really catchy pop songs for outcasted people,” Kerr explains of the album’s varied, but nonetheless anthemic tunes, which come tailor-made for “people to scream together.”
Hotel Mira have already tested this theory out to great success over the past year, preceding I Am Not Myself with single releases for “Fever Pitch” (#6 on the Mediabase Can-Alternative radio chart), “Eventually”, “Dancing With the Moonlight” (#13 on the Mediabase Can-Alternative radio chart), “Mama” and “Everything Once”. While building off the sharp, pop-rock hooks Perfectionism, Hotel Mira are likewise exploring their widest set of sounds yet, vaulting from neon-trashy garage rock, to festival-sized pop hooks, glam-bop balladry, and tropi-goth workouts.
Through it all, Kerr and co. are working with an increasingly raw and determined sensitivity. On I Am Not Myself’s closing “Age of Detachment,” the vocalist distills the album’s themes of love, loss, identity, and the embracing of community with a heart-pounding pledge: “I want to take off the armour.” In I Am Not Myself, Hotel Mira have found the profound pathway to connect it all.
“I think that there is value to expressing unsavory things about oneself, and peeling away shame,” Kerr confesses. “If this music has a purpose, I think it’s to show people how engulfed by shame we are, and how universal that is to the human experience. By pinpointing my own, hopefully people are more forgiving of theirs.”
I Am Not Myself was recorded in various studios across British Columbia alongside producers Adam Kasper (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Ryan Worsley (Fake Shark), Steve Bays (Fur Trade, Hot Hot Heat), Parker Bossley (Fur Trade), Louise Burns, James Younger and more.
Hotel Mira are Charlie Kerr (vocals), Clark Grieve (guitar), Mike Noble (bass), and Cole George (drums).
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