Album review: Hot Water Music – Vows

Illustrious Gainesville punks Hot Water Music get to album number 10 with a little help from their friends…

Album review: Hot Water Music – Vows
Olly Thomas

Hot Water Music’s name on an album has long been recognised as a mark of quality. The Floridian punks weren’t the only band to inject a big-hearted, gruff melodicism into the ’90s hardcore scene, but their intuitive knack for irresistible tuneage made them one of the most influential. They certainly paved the way for the likes of The Gaslight Anthem and Against Me!, and their significance is celebrated on this 10th album with members of Alexisonfire, Thrice, Turnstile and The Interrupters swinging by to pay tribute.

This stacked guestlist doesn’t detract from Vows sounding exactly like a Hot Water Music record, with the surging anthemics of opening track Menace getting fists pumping from the off. Burn Forever and Touch The Sun will resonate with anyone with a taste for blue collar rock, their huge choruses branding them as instant bangers. Meanwhile, the spiky throb of Remnants and the dynamic guitar line threaded through Chewing On Broken Glass capture the post-hardcore spirit that remains at the band’s heart.

Of course, as this most honest of bands reaches their 30th birthday, there are moments both sonic and lyrical that consider the passing of time. Lines like ‘Time is running out’ (Searching For Light) and ‘Those days are over now’ (Bury Us All) lend proceedings a bittersweet tang, while Side Of The Road and the Dallas Green-featuring After The Impossible are particularly reflective musically.

Much Love has the feel of a fond farewell, closing an album that refracts Hot Water Music’s glory days through age and experience to prove that these veterans still deserve that hard-earned reputation.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: The Gaslight Anthem, Alexisonfire, Against Me!

Vows is released by End Hits on May 10

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