18 Mar 2022 - Thorsten
End Hits Records | Release date: 18 Mar 2022 | Favorite song: Habitual
Can a record that you love from the first moment onward, still be a “grower”? Well in some strange way, the new Hot Water Music full-length Feel The Void surely feels like one. It transports you right back to the start of the new millennium and the holy trinity of HWM records of No Division, A Flight And A Crash and Caution but at the same time, there are tiny moments when one sees that this is a new beginning. And a good one, on top.
When one of the members of HWM had to take a break from the band a few years ago, they asked Chris Creswell (The Flatliners) to join them on tour, because that is what HWM does – tour. And on that tour the three remaining members noticed how good the chemistry worked amongst the four of them. Chris became an unofficial member of the band and when the time came to talk about a new full-length and the return of the original member that he had “substituted” it soon became clear, that from then on, the band would be a quintet. So that’s one new beginning.
There are other elements that remind us of the earlier times of the band, like their choice to work with former Battery-member and well-known producer Brian McTernan again (just like for Caution) or with designer Scott Sinclair, who also played a seminal role in creating the myth that is HWM. The band that doesn’t only play concerts but events to fraternize with the stranger next to you, with whom you been singing along to songs like ”Trusty Chords” or their cover of AK3’s ”Radio”. And that is what always made this band special – their singalongs, which later became food for tattoo artists around the globe as the band always had a knack for writing clever lyrics full of memorable one-liners which perfectly fit onto several parts of the human body.
This is something that Feel The Void also has. Several lines in these lyrics are worth being inked out on forearms or calves, even though that is not something the band intends to do with every song. They just want to write good songs, which they do. There are two songs on this record that show how well-adopted to the year 2022 the band is: ”Habitual” and ”Ride High”.
”Habitual” starts with the line ”I don’t wanna spend the rest of my life in doubt” and ”Ride High” opens with ”I remember everything / every lesson you taught me”. Both very self-reflective lines and both worthy of being looked at through the magnifying glass. ”Habitual” can be about one person suffering from insecurity, like a disease. And in fact, that is the first level of the song, an anthem against giving in to the disease fighting you. Don’t give up, stand up, lift your fingers. Just like those people do at HWM concerts, when they are engaging with the band as close as possible. The second level is of course denying the doubt about your personal achievements hold you in its firm grasp. Let your insecurity not define you, but your achievements and successes. This life-affirmation aspect has always been a strong hold of the Gainesville veterans. When ”Habitual” gives you this welcome warm feeling, it’s like being at home in a midtempo-song driven by the rhythm section and supported by some excellent guitar work. ”Ride High” is a bit more acoustic and a bit slower and with the central line ”We’ll never stand our ground walking away” - again the same idea, just a little different. It’s the idea of “You can lose a fight you’re fighting but you have already lost the fight when you are walking away from it.” It’s the old 80s motto – no retreat, no surrender!
Musically, the songs on the whole album is a wonderful look back but without the dangerous companion nostalgia, but rather with an optimistic look ahead. As long as we are together in this we will get through. Music to fall into strangers’ arms and know that we are brothers for more than just this concert! And the best thing – these are just two wonderful song examples on a grand new beginning for Hot Water Music!