There must be something about bands with fire-related names: the Flamin’ Groovies, Jason & the Scorchers, the Fiery Furnaces. Now comes Texas alt-rockers the Burning Hotels. Like those groups, this quartet wears influences openly, but unlike the aforementioned, the Burning Hotels have not yet learned to transcend inspirations.

On their first full-length, Novels, the Burning Hotels echo similar and more famous acts. Post-punk nugget “Austin’s Birthday” mimics the Killers, right down to cloning Brandon Flowers’ vocal mannerisms. Standout track “Boy or a Girl” imitates the Strokes’ boom and brash veneer. Melancholic romance reverie “Silhouette” mirrors Coldplay.

While the Burning Hotels offer danceable alt-rock tunes fronted by sharp guitars and enthusiastic rhythms, there is a lack of originality that too often mires the material in the land of caricature. There are worse things than sounding like the Strokes or the Killers, but hopefully on subsequent outings the Burning Hotels will find their own voice.

Grade: C



Novels is currently available.