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Album Review: Hot Water Music - The Fire, The Steel, The Tread EP

Life as a Hot Water Music fan has been tough over the last seven years. The band broke up, undertook their own separate projects, did a few reunion shows, released a compilation, but never committed anything new to tape. Up until now that is. Ardent fans rejoice, as Gainsville’s finest have returned to the studio and committed two new tracks to tape. Not only that, but this two-song morsel represents a nice stop-gap until the band record and releases a new album on Rise Records early next year. Good news all round.

The two songs that make up this release show the band incorporating the individual ideas of the band's members, and the kind of things they have been doing on their break. Though there’s no obvious reference to Senses Fail and Against Me!, the influence of Chris Wollard and Chuck Ragan’s respective solo careers leave their mark on the songs. This reflects where the band are musically quite well, and results in a progression in the overall sound since their last full-length ‘The New What Next’.

‘The Fire, The Steel, The Tread’ is the track that is most influenced by Ragan’s solo work. In fact, those that say it sounds like an electric Chuck song aren’t too far from the truth. In the same way that Ragan’s solo stuff does, the song channels the spirit of blue-collar America beautifully. There’s a real gritty rhythm to this track that churns away in a manner that would make even the biggest computer geek yearn for the iron works. Unsurprisingly, it's Ragan who handles the main vocal duties on this one, and the jazz-like rhythm section of Rebello and Black is back to its best.

It’s Chris Wollard, however, who leaves his signature on ‘Up To Nothing’. This is a more traditional sounding Hot Water Music song that also takes some cues from 'The Draft'. Wollard handles vocal duties, and lends his voice well to the superb chorus. Once again, the guitar work and rhythm section are up to scratch and work so well together it’s like they never had a break.

It will really depend on which vocalist you favor, as to which track has the biggest appeal, however one thing is certain, these tracks serve as an excellent aperitif to a new and exciting dawn for the band. It’s good to have you back, boys.


'The Fire, The Steel, The Tread' EP is out August 2nd.

Daniel Issitt

Alter The Press!