The first line of Adeline Hotel’s newest release, It’s Alright, Just the Same is a roundabout expression of devotion. “I’ve got time of yours to waste,” Daniel Knishkowy sings, “you don’t know it yet but just you wait.” The track, called “Oh Well,” is a tender ballad with a two-minute ending which I consider to be the true start to the album; the song is really a prologue–an introduction to Adeline Hotel’s restless love.
This is Knishkowy’s second LP, following his 2014 record Leave the Lights, a domineering debut. The New York crooner’s sound has always been in the alt-country family, layering acoustic and electric guitar progressions with bluegrass elements that tied it all together. Notoriously absent this time around is the upright bass that commanded many rifts in Lights. With that, It’s Alright, Just the Same feels less whimsical than its predecessor, but more mature in its own right.
Even with slightly narrower instrumentation, this album still can pack a punch. When the single, “Near You,” breaks down at 1:40, it feels like an intersection between Wilco, The Raconteurs, and the Dirty Projectors all at once. But the energy is deliberately staggered throughout the record, going from that fun riff, to the heartbreaking coos in “Lay Low,” to the feel-good steel guitar drawls in “Disarray.”
The songwriting goes even further, with a pervasive emotional depth as well as some fun Easter eggs scattered about (the lyrics are on Bandcamp). The album title comes up in both the first and final tracks, loosely framing the record and creating a deeper relationship between these songs. In the final lines of “Oh Well,” Knishkowy sings with disappointment that we don’t really change throughout our lives, always living as ourselves even if we desire to change. But by the end, he is “surprised” at his own newfound openness to new experiences, new people, new relationships.
Love comes in many forms, and in “Wonder Why,” Adeline Hotel’s self-professed favorite song to perform, there is a sense of deep care and respect for a friend. Adorably, Knishkowy left in the background of the recording a moment when he shouts “whoo!” in delight just before the guitar solo. For me, this is the cherry on top. This album is so enjoyable from start to finish that it’s refreshing to hear how much fun he had while making it.
It’s Alright, Just the Same is out now on Wild Kindness Records. You can also stream the album via Bandcamp below.
Words: Zoë Elaine