reviews Hot Water Music's "Caution"

You know, I had a lot riding on this record, I mean, I had a lot of emotion invested in it, and I wasn't sure if I was looking forward to its release as much as I was dreading it. See, when music is good, and I mean really good, it can give you an optimism, even if the music is shedding light on a subject that is far from optimistic. Basically it's just a way of looking at the world that only music can let you in on.

So yeah, I had a little trepidation about this release and I'll tell you why. Look at the releases so far this year, well actually look at the releases this year that I had been looking forward to....This year (in order of appearance): Bad Religion Process of Belief, wow, great fucking record, incredible start to the year, Dillinger Four Situationist Comedy, damn, another great record, and lately, Dag Nasty's Minority of One, probably their best record yet. So basically the year was getting better and better, and I was so stoked that I didn't want to be let down by a band whose records I love so much. This year's records gave me that kind of perspective that only music can, I wanted HWM to join that club of records on the high spot on my shelf.

Now, the moment of truth, how the hell is the new HWM? In a word, bloody brilliant. The other moment of truth, was I right to dread this release? NO. I was more wrong than Napoleon was to invade Russia, dead wrong. I was so wrong that I think I should move to Hot Water country in Florida and read Mark Twain and Bukowski all day just to try and get a splinter of insight into how these guys have evolved into a band that can put out an album as definitive as Twain and as intimate as Bukowski. Christ, what Chinatown did to revive film noir, this record does to revive punk rock. If this record doesn't invigorate you then you need an adrenaline injection through your breastplate and into your cold black heart... But I digress, more about the actual content of the record...

Right off the bat it hits you, somewhere between that heavy sonic impact that any punk fans hopes for, combined with a catch-phrase lyrical beginning that recalls the best days of Midnight Oil (A band whom HWM covered on the latest Plea For Peace/ Take Action compilation, out on Hopeless/Subcity). Then the second song comes, wow, and then the third... You know what? I could go through and pick apart this record, tell you what tracks are genius and what tracks are just worth a listen, but fuck it, it ain't worth it, as the man says, if a picture is worth a thousand words a song could fill twenty highbrow English majors' honors theses, or something like that, whatever. Just listen to it....Now.

But before I go I have to include one of my favorite lines of all year, courtesy of this album, so I'll throw it in as a end-piece, "The pain this morning it filled my head, it's Jameson, it means that I'm not dead." Thanks to that line neither am I, and neither is rock and roll...

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