Friday, September 8, 2017
Hot Water Music : "Light It Up"
This Florida band has returned, one of the staples of the post-hardcore scene that once got referred to as emo when it was about emotion rather than hair cuts. Their new album find the band back with a stronger sense of melody and song writing than I remember them leaving off with. Their singer's husky voice reaches further than before. They are not as aggressive but it is a fair trade off in terms of maturation. It's when they really speed things up into a punk place on the title track that they lose me. "Show Your Face" returns to the more melodic sense of emotion injected into a brand of punk that leans more into the rock side of the equation. This means a strong chorus that is more likely to get stuck in your head. "Never Going Back" feels more like a punk version of Bruce Springsteen. With that said it also equates with finely tuned songwriting and thoughtful lyrics.
The rambling almost Americana take on punk rolls on with it's very organic lyrical sensibility. Here it begins to retread some of the ground it feels like they have already covered and finds this formula beginning to wear thin on me as they no longer have the darker sense of desperation that used to ride the underbelly of their sound back in the day. They come closer to touching on this with "Sympathizer" , but turn around and lose me again with the more Ramones like punk of "Vultures". While they don't suck at this kind of punk, I don't think it's truest to who they are as a band. "Bury Your Idols" finds them splitting the difference and bringing a more familiar melodic side to the punk energy. It's not until "Overload" that I begin to hear a New Model Army influence that must have been their all these years but I never gave any thought to until now.
The Bruce Springsteen thing returns to a greater extent on "High Class Catastrophe" . But this is fine with me as is it is one of the album's more passionately sung songs."Hold Out" is melodic punk filler, the chorus is strong but kind breezes past without really sticking to me. With these guys it's all about the feeling from the vocal and they sell me more on that during this album's more rock n roll moments like the closing anthem "Take You Away" which is what the Boss would sound like if he went up to 11. Speaking of numbers I'll give this album an 8, mainly due to the fact some of the more brisk punk numbers just don't make me a believer. Fans of the band might be more forgiving, I used to like this guys but haven't listened to them in 18 years.