Taking its name from the Henry Miller novel that focuses on a starving writer in the early 20th century, Sun Hotel’s “Tropic Of Cancer” acutely captures the existential dread that fills that book and all other musings of the condition of the modern artist. “It’s so much better to hate yourself than to love somebody else for no reason,” Tyler Scurlock sings reluctantly, later flipping the same mantra on its head in the second half of the song: “It’s so much easier to love yourself than to hate somebody else for no reason…” The song does a lot with pauses, teasing out silence to draw out a mood of regret — it’s a soft and unassuming track about comparing yourself with others and constantly feeling like you’re falling short. Collegiate concerns like failing classes fall by the wayside for more pressing matters — the song’s title has a parenthetical attached to it: “Tropic Of Cancer (made me drop out of college and start working at this bookstore)” — and the track addresses the creatively constraining environment that college can so often be, but the frustration of feeling that you have to get through it because that’s what society’s hard-wired you to do. When you step out of that path to follow a possibly romanticized dream of being an artist, where will that take you? The New Orleans band doesn’t have the answer to that, but they try their best to figure it all out on their forthcoming new album Rational Expectations. Listen below.
Here are some words from the band about the new album:
Rational Expectations is the culmination of every experience Sun Hotel has gone through, been a part of, or put others through, in the last five years. Each backyard forest party, existentialist novel, steam filled basement, meal made in a kind strangers’ kitchen, and countless other idiosyncratic moments have been laying themselves on top of one another, each moment affecting the next. Finally having the opportunity to pour this holistic weight into a cohesive album has been a catharsis that could have not been kept inside any longer, cleansing ourselves of everything that stuck to our skin, and opening the door the hundred futures in front of us.
Rational Expectations is out 2/3 on Community Records.