August Hotel’s release of “Disaster & Delight” explores the hope that a reconciliation could make a broken relationship flourish. - Courtesy of Kate Liddy Photography

Premiere: ‘Disaster & Delight’ ushers in new era for August Hotel

It’s about a girl. And a fire. But mostly a girl.

“Disaster & Delight,” the new single out Friday, Dec. 13, from Chicago-area indie-pop band August Hotel, explores the “naive hopefulness” to find a fix when a relationship breaks down, according to the band’s drummer, Dean Sinclair. 

Written three years ago by McHenry’s Sinclair, the song uses the Chicago fire as a metaphor to explain the longing he felt at the end of a college relationship, but with the band’s maturity and signature upbeat flourishes. 

“I was pretty beat up about it because I didn’t want it to be over,” he said. The two remained friends, but he went home for Christmas break still wanting to break through the impasse. As an outlet, he wrote this song.

“It’s about hoping a relationship can get reconciled,” he explained, pointing out the metaphor. “Chicago burnt down, but then it grew. By burning something down, sometimes it can be rebuilt bigger.” 

Peppered with references to the city, the girl and his time in college, the song addresses that hope in no uncertain terms. “I definitely am not a vague lyricist,” he said with a laugh.

The new track — featuring the instrumental talents of Sinclair, Ryan Lammers, Cale Singleton and Craig Schwartz Jr. and the silky vocals of Jo Padilla — has been a staple of the August Hotel’s live shows for some time now, even though it’s been on hold as a release while the band focused on the rest of an upcoming EP. 

Partially recorded by Freddy Purcell of Ember Oceans and mixed by Friday Pilots Club’s Drew Polovick, the new songs, due out early next year, have drawn talents from different elements of the Chicago scene together.

“Something that definitely meant a lot to all of us was having it be done by someone who was a contemporary of sorts, someone also in bands and someone we could develop a further relationship with,” Sinclair said. “By the time we heard “PRBLM” by Friday Pilots Club, we knew we had to reach out to Drew.” 

Polovick’s work on the EP helps the band usher in a new era with a tweaked sound, a new logo and branding by Lammers, and some big TBA shows on the horizon.