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Accessible Hardcore

Hot Water Music

Hot Water Music - The New What Next
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Dec. 21, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

Falling somewhere, not so comfortably, between post punk and heavy metal comes the Gainesville, FL-based band Hot Water Music with their sixth full-length album The New What Next - a spirited collection of sinewy hard rock numbers filled with catchy hooks, lasting melodies and a gymnasium full of youthful exuberance.
What sets this band, and this CD for that matter, apart from other new emo-punk bands is the fact that instead of whining and braying over forced melodies that pretentiously tug at the heartstrings, Hot Water Music's passion sounds like it's tapped directly from the soul of its members. From the muscular twin guitars and aching, guttural lead vocal trade-offs between Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard to the dynamic rhythms and inviting tempo changes of bassist Jason Black and drummer George Rebelo, this quartet has much more to offer than their more successful peers such as The Get-Up Kids and Something Corporate. Not so surprising after listening to this album, the band in fact actually has much more in common with respected acts like Fugazi, Bad Religion and Pegboy than with the overabundance of disposable emo bands that they are sometimes, unfairly, lumped in with.
While songs such as the breakneck "My Little Monkey Wrench," the runaway freighter "This Early Grave," complete with searing twin lead guitars and the anthemic metal call-to-arms of "The End of the Line" showcase this band finally hitting their stride, they also successfully shed light on their more introspective side on the enduring "Ink and Lead" without ever reducing themselves to the sappy power ballad formula.
Although they often get thrown into the punk genre, Hot Water Music proves with an accessible hardcore sound (one that they're very close to perfecting without being labeled as corporate sell-outs) to be much more than your standard three-chord, one-trick pony.

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