The odd echo that starts off “Without Your Song” makes the vocals all the more interesting. The instrumentation is so bare as to be non-existent; “Albatross” changes things due to its instrumental opening (a minute and a half worth) but ultimately sticks with a very creepy type of sound. The echoing present in this track mixes in with an electronic sound to change things up, but one knows that the song ultimately follows in form from the previous works on “Dirty Floor Hotel Part 2”. The first track that seems to break free of this general sound has to be “It Don’t Matter If You Bleed”. In a sense, the vocals present on the track really seem to have hints of Soul Asylum and Chris Isaak; the guitar work present is still Spartan but actually is threaded without fail throughout the track.
“Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still” is by far the most radio-appropriate track present on “Dirty Floor Hotel part 2”. The use of a second set of vocals to increase the power present really closes up a chapter in LN’s history. The band does not necessarily have to relegate itself to the Spartan sound that dominates most parts of the disc, but can actually go and come up with a full-sounding track. The emotional content is not diminished by the addition of a second set of vocal, but it is rather the opposite. With another individual present to throw in the vocals, the proper parts of vocals are really highlighted and shown to listeners more clearly.
The largest derivation from the general sound of “Dirt Floor Hotel Part 2” has to be during “Kisses”, a song that instrumentally recalls Afro Celt Sound System and Sixpence None The Richer, taking a happier approach than the morose, if not depressing style of earlier tracks on the disc. Throwing in a bass to the mix for “Kisses”, LN really show a fullness of sound that should be present during their next CD. The tracks on “Dirt Floor Hotel Part 2” are all solid, but it truly is only during “Kisses” that the band seems to make that next step and really make something that will be compelling to anyone who happens to listen in. A nice work by the band, but LN still has a few things to tighten up before their follow-ups can be deemed unfettered successes. Give it a go.
Top Tracks: Kisses, Albatross
LN – Dirt Floor Hotel Part 2 / 2005 Velvet Blue / 11 Tracks / http://www.velvetbluemusic.com / Reviewed 04 March 2006