Travels is a duo/couple formed by Mona Elliott (formerly of Victory at Sea) and Anar Badalov (formerly of Metal Hearts), "the hot summer" is their second album and as seen from the tag on the sleeve, a celebration of their shared love too.
I quite enjoyed their first lp and in fact two of the best songs of their debut are also included here in slightly different versions: "Olivia Hurt" and "The Smell of Kerosene" (hidden after the last song). Strange idea. Besides that, happiness in love has never been the best source of inspiration and the mix of guitars and beats as main elements has been already overused by so many others.
Ok, besides the two already known songs, "The Hot Summer" fails at catching strongly my attention, as a whole. Compared with their debut, it's more of the same in a perfected, smoother version, with less aching tension and moving melancholy, we are just a little bit more closer to the middle of the road for a band who previously avoided it totally. It feels for me like traveling back to a certain mid-nineties version of US indie pop rock songs, with no real added value.
While on their debut it was possible to suspect which one the two was behind a specific song or element, here it's more like a fusion and their voices seem even closer. I admit I am skeptical about "the hot summer" without being able to explain this too precisely, I'm still a deep fan of their songwriting. I just think i wish it was as special, minimal, à fleur de peau and extreme than their debut, when now they just have a better mastery of their songwriting and by the way inscribe themselves in a certain tradition.
"The Hot Summer" belongs to this kind of album I can't really listen to from begin to end but that I enjoy when lost in my big music library one of the tracks pops up from the shuffle playlist.