Moby, Hotel

Joe Levy

By Joe Levy

on 04.22.11 in Reviews


Electro innovator settles for known pleasures on this retro outing.

This distinctly minor album finds Moby rooting through his identities — '80s electro fan, '90s electronica innovator, 21st century rock star, longtime Bowie and Eno disciple — and settling on nothing, exactly. Blues-gone-glam guitar tracks like "Raining Again," "Beautiful" and "Spiders" play like an audition tape to produce a Ziggy Stardust follow-up — not a particularly successful audition, either. Far better are a cover of New Order's "Temptation" slowed down to the crawl the world takes on after too many Percodans and "Dream About Me," an update on the robo-disco heartbreak of Yaz. Both feature Laura Dawn, whose breathy vulnerability is a welcome relief to Moby's unadorned vocals on "Slipping Away" and "Love Should." A techno-pastoral instrumental, "Homeward Angel," closes the album with a graceful bit of ambient bliss. In keeping with the album's title, it all adds up to the sort of dance-and-rock mix you hear in the lobby and bars of boutique hotels: vaguely cool, vaguely retro, vaguely now, and pretty anonymous. Hotels are anonymous places where intimate things transpire, but you can bet Moby was after music that captured the intimacy, not the anonymity.