November 27, 2004
BY JASON SONGE
It was really annoying that Otel were playing in a corner to five people Saturday night at Lucky's. Their quality of music deserved a real stage and a crowd. The local rock trio(minus their drummer) played compact pop/rock that was led by Paul Christian's soaring vocals and slightly funky acoustic guitar chords. Christian's voice could be beautifully anguished or beautifully happy. Judging by the many different ways he stretched his face and the reach and gusto behind his voice, he was putting a lot of emotion into his performance. Which went perfect with the way love dominated the song subject matter. Christian was joined by a bassist/vocalist and a lead guitarist/vocalist.
Otel's music reminded me of Matthew Sweet. I guess it was the seemingly simplistic, earnest songs that could have one foot in the mud and one hand on a baby's bed. Sweet was always one of those songwriters who seemed deserving to be making music in the '90's because he had done a good job of absorbing much of the doo-wop and rock that had come in the decades before his. Same way with Otel. Candy-coated melodies accompanied with well-placed vocal harmonies inside songs that had enough classic rock knowledge to harbor a thoughtful yet blazing guitar solo.
The only problem with Otel was that their bass wasn't prominent in the mix, and it sounded too funky. Those songs would have done better with a Paul McCartney sound.
Otel plays inside the Superdome before Saints games, and even though they play all original songs, I vote for Otel to play outside on the big stage. I have a feeling they'd rock it.