Hot Water Music – Forever and Counting / No Division

Hot Water Music
Forever and Counting / No Division

Very loud hardcore ala Fugazi with a bit more melody and subtle leaning toward emo. These guys are tall, have bushy beards, and sing like they just swallowed hydrochloric acid (gravelling growling and shouting). But it’s great! Fast frenzy of rock! The members also do a slower thing with the band Blacktop Cadence, which is on my to-buy list.
Hot Water Music plays that brand of hardcore that straddles the line between true, loud hardcore and the more emo-core-sounding rock. They play their driving hardcore and throw in hooks and melodicism, just enough to keep your feet tapping, your head bobbing, and your interest piqued. “Southeast First” starts with a child’s schoolyard chant, oddly fitting to this song, before it kicks in with the rough vocals, driving rhythms, and compelling melodicism that these guys are best known for. This song picks up where the band’s last album left off. “Free Radio Gainesville,” named for the town in Florida the band hails from, is probably one of my favorite songs. “Our Own Way” starts off like the melodic hardcore of old, but the melodic hooks in the vocals are again here, with the chorus “Who gives a fuck what anybody says, we’ll live and love until we’re dead. Holding on to what we’ve come to know. And on and on and on and on” rapidly getting into your infectious little head. “Jet Set Ready” kicks in, with a slower line (although the pounding drums are still there), more harmonies, and hooks to get you bouncing off the walls. “Rooftops” is much more vocal focused, at times sung without any musical accompaniment. It’s still fast and loud, but has elements of punk of old, plenty of shouting and dual vocals. “Hit and Miss” ends with an excellent tribal drum solo. All the components that made the past Hot Water Music albums great are still here, the driving guitar, the solid bass, the pounding, angry drums, and the gruff, gargled-in-acid vocals. But on No Division, the Gainesville guys sound as if they’ve truly matured.