Overall Score: 8/10/10 Song Writing: 8/10 Anthemic Choruses: 9/10 Consistency: 8/10 Pros: Fantastic Hot Water Music record, consistent focused album. Sonically sounds huge with massive choruses and even bigger vocals! Cons: Need more UK dates on the tour.
The gruff Floridians are back! Hot Water Music have released their new album Feel The Void. The wait for a new album has been long and arduous; the band’s last full-length release was 2017’s Light It Up. We have a global pandemic to thank for that. With this release, we see the introduction of new member The Flatliners frontman Chris Cresswell, after Chris Wollard took a departed from live touring to focus on his mental health.
The opening track Another Breath arguably breathes a new lease of life into the band. A quintessential Hot Water Music track. Starting with Chuck Ragan gruffly screaming “we’re taken alive” to the moving bass line from Jason Black which seals this track as a must for future live gigs. Killing Time harks back to one of the things you love about the band; a straight ahead melodic punk track, reminiscent of Trusty Chords in terms of the bass and drums locking in and driving the song with octave laden guitars.
The two singles on this album so far are Habitual and Collect Your Things And Run. In the latter we see the return of Chris Wollard, with his remarkable rasp. After taking time away from the band to concentrate on his mental health you can feel that this song touches the subject in the line “I count to 4, 5, 6, I feel like shit. I know. It’s a long way back down an ever empty road”. However this song very much feels like some kind of redemption for Wollard with the words “You’re not the only one in your head/ Don’t lose track now, the right ones must be fed/ I tell ya now, don’t wait, don’t hesitate, I know/ Don’t lose track of yourself”.
The title track feels like they have encapsulated their whole back catalogue into one track. Anthemic chorus- check, duel vocals- check, lead bass lines – check, worthy to be the title track- CHECK! Turn The Dial sees the introduction of newest member Chris Cresswell on lead vocals. The cynic in us would expect this to be a cast off from The Flatliners and we couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a must listen for Hot Water Music fans, it is a concise track, with each member having their own moment to shine.
The sonics on this album are unparalleled, producer Brian McTernan, no stranger to the band pulls fantastic performances from each member. The mix on this record sounds fantastic through speakers and headphones providing the ear candy for you die hard Hot Water Music fans, with punchy guitars and a thunderous rhythm section.
Ride High is a contender for the highlight of this record, a slight removal from the band’s regular sound, opening with arpeggiated guitar however containing the Hot Water Music must, an anthemic chorus. “Just know when you’re on your own/ Stand up for yourself and roll. For some of us there’s just one way to never quit and never say die” – is this a man reflecting on life as a family man, a man that has spent most of his life on the road? It reads like an ode to Hot Water Music, with over 20 years under their belt it feels like the perfect song for reflection.
Feel The Void is definitely worth the five year wait. From the opening to the album closer Hot Water Music have produced a fantastic body of work. A record worthy of sitting with their back catalogue. Feel The Void is the type of record you would expect from a band that has been together for over 20 years. A Ford Mustang of a record if you will, solid, sturdy, and a hell of ride that you don’t want to end! Fans of their other albums will not find it difficult to delve into this record!
Feel The Void is available now via End Hit Records.
For more information on Hot Water Music, like their official page on Facebook.