04. My Little Monkey Wrench
05. Under Everything
06. There Are Already Roses
07. Keep It Together
08. The Ebb And Flow
09. Bottomless Seas
10. Ink And Lead
11. This Early Grave
The New What Next
Hot Water Music
If it's trite to say HOT WATER MUSIC's third album for Epitaph is easily its finest album yet, it's also the goddamn truth. When it comes to forceful, fluid and intricate punk-inspired sounds, few -- if any -- roar with the kind of expression and precision found on The New What Next.
"If there was one Hot Water Music record to own, it would be this one," Jason states. Succinctly put, Black. Succinctly put.
The New What Next
Hot Water Music
For the spirit of Kate Gilleece, may it never die.
Produced, engineered, and mixed by Brian McTernan and Salad Days.
Photos by Crissy Piper.
Tray card photo by Jill Pauletich.
Art/layout by Scott "SINC" Sinclair. SINC@sincstudio.com
Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound.
Solo on giver by the Pete.
HWM: Jason Black, Chuck Ragan, George Rebelo, Chris Wollard.
FOH Engineer: John Harris.
Stage Manager: Mike Frey.
Merchandise: Pepper Monroe.
North American Booking: Eva Alexiou for Fata Booking.
European Booking: Phillip Styra/Burkhard Junger for DEAG/Green Hell.
Australian Booking: Chris Moses for Blue Murder.
Legal: Larry Jacobson.
Eternal thanks to our families, friends, Epitaph, No Idea, and everyone else who has helped out over the last ten years.
HWM enjoys the kind support of: Quicksilver, MacBeth, Atticus, Globe, EC Star, Mesa/Boogie, Line 6, Fender, Vater, Sabian, Maryland Drums, SIT, D'Addario, Tour Supply.
For more information and to purchase merchandise online: www.hotwatermusic.com
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US Rel. Date: 09/21/2004
EU Rel. Date: 09/20/2004
Jordan A. Baker
HOT WATER MUSIC possess a wonderful instinct for dropping irresistible guitar riffs and melodies into their songs, many of which become a defining quality. The opening, jumpy, guitar intro to the third song, "All Heads Down," is the kind of note string that sets one's ears in a perked condition. Much like BAD RELIGION's guitar intro to "Infected," "All Heads Down" builds its own legacy by attracting a force that few bands can create, and I guarantee you will be humming it at random for all eternity. The fifth track, "Under Everything," features HOT WATER MUSIC tinkering around with some tempo changes, drawing in some extra heaviness with a drained guitar crunch. With a looming chorus rising above the churning rhythm section, this song is destined to be a crowd pleaser for any set. "There Are Already Roses," the sixth track, is a fairly straight forward song, but its prowess lies in the flesh-wound lyrics that detail a personal coming apart in vivid, but terse passages. Rolling into the seventh song is the rouser, "Keep it Together," which should make anyone a believer that HOT WATER MUSIC have one of the most fluid, gripping rhythm sections around. Towards the latter third of this song, it's as if the band presses down on a level and seamlessly kicks into a stream of propulsion.
"The New What Next" retracts a bit on the eighth song, "The Ebb and Flow," which essentially mimics its title, holding back on tempo, and focuses on meandering guitars and dizzying atmospherics. This tune sits in stark contrast the dark, driving rock of the majority of HOT WATER MUSIC's songs, but its roominess pleasantly places an extra spotlight on the vocals, proving that such can hold their own without the beneift of a wall of noise cranking away. The building intro of the tenth track, "Ink and Lead," reminds me oddly of the TEXAS IS THE REASON song, "Back and to the Left," but that might just be wishful thinking. Regardless, this song, like "The Ebb and Flow" takes HOT WATER MUSIC firmly out of their past endeavors and into an area of songwriting that defines ordinary analysis. Simply put, I've yet to found the proper words to describe how great "Ink and Lead" finishes up. The final two songs to this release are as uneven as ever, but in perfect balance to the varied textures that have crawled all over "The New What Next." The eleventh tune, "This Early Grave," shifts towards garage-punk with an uptick in aggression that reminds me of THE HUMPERS, and the final track, "Giver" could be a rewritten BAD RELIGION anthem, coated deliciously with that thick throaty delivery that Chuck Ragan dishes out so well.
After six full-lengths (not including "Live at the Hardback") of consistently being ahead of the curve, and honestly, in their own domain, I can't help but wonder what kind of tricks HOT WATER MUSIC have in store after "The New What Next." I do not make such praise lightly. More than two years ago, at the end of my review of the band's "Caution," I noted, "HOT WATER MUSIC have upped the ante of what they are capable of," and again, I must reiterate the same conclusion, adding on my belief that this is one of the best albums of 2004.
Gainesville's finest craft another classic album.
Chances are, Hot Water Music will never grace the cover of this magazine. That's not because of a lack of talent (HWM have unquestionably the tightest rhythm section in punk rock); experience (over a decade in existence); or touring (they play more shows in a year than most of their peers do their entire careers). It's because there's no gimmick---the band's music is their image. So while HWM's former tour support, like Coheed And Cambria and Thrice, goes onto major-label stardom, glossy photo spreads and tours sponsored by car companies, HWM will lurk in the shadows (or the opening slot), waiting patiently for a moment in the spotlight that, unfortunately, probably won't ever come.
However, the band's fifth full-length, The New What Next, is anything but a pity party; if anything, it's a celebration of life and loss. The opener, "Keep It Together," may catch fans off guard with its midtempo rhythm and its chunky riffing reminiscent of Sparta, but guitarist/vocalists Chris Wollard and Chuck Ragan's Jameson-soaked voices, Jason Black's fleet-fingered bassline and George Rebelo's near tribal drumming make the song distinctively HWM. In fact, most of TNWN is more restrained than the band's previous material, showing them relying more on shifting rhythms and open spaces than on the straight-ahead palm-muted riffing that dominated albums like Fuel For The Hate Game and Forever And Counting.
That's not to say the band have mellowed with age (see the balls-to-the-walls rocker "The End Of The Line" for irrefutable evidence); just that they know how to play to their strengths and evolve without reinventing themselves. Producer Brian McTernan knowingly places the vocals low in the mix on TNWN, which makes it seem like Wollard and Ragan are struggling literally to scream over the music on songs like "My Little Monkey Wrench." But the album's best track is "Giver," the most anthemic song the band have written since "Turnstile," complete with a made-for-sing-along chorus, a melody-mimicking solo (courtesy of Bouncing Souls' guitarist, the Pete) and motivational lyrics like, "Throw the rules away, to stand and deliver now/All is yours."
Sure, there are a few curveballs on The New What Next (and I'm not just referring to Scott Sinclair's metal-looking cover art). The near-ballad "Ink And Lead" is the closest the band have come to a bonafide love song; the guitar shredding on "This Early Grave" wouldn't sound out of place on Turbonegro's Apocalypse Dudes; and with lines like "I feel like I am in an endless night/Like I am falling through the restless sky," "Poison" is pretty bleak stuff---even for four guys who named their band after a collection of stories by Charles Bukowski.
In the end, The New What Next isn't going to make Hot Water Music superstars---but that's not really the issue here. What's important is that after over a decade, HWM are still around, creating vital music and pushing the limits of their craft. Because when it comes to artistic endeavors, success doesn't necessarily mean getting your likeness airbrushed onto a foreign car. It lies in creating music that's heartfelt and honest, and with The New What Next, Hot Water Music have done exactly that.
Average Fan Rating: 4.50
this is the remedy
thank you exister record
it is a shame I did not buy it in 2004.
better late then never.