Hot Water Music
A Flight and a Crash
While the cover has those vaguely disturbing paintings by the same artist that Hot Water Music has used for its last few records, there’s new stuff afoot musically on the disc itself. Whether or not being on Epitaph has anything to do with it (and I’m sure that anyone who doesn’t like the slight change of direction the band has taken will immediately make just such a charge), A Flight and a Crash is more varied than previous HWM releases. Rather than blaming this on Epitaph, I’d guess this has more to do with equal parts going back to their roots (in their demo-tape days, HWM was considerably more melodic than their records and live shows later became) and touring with Leatherface (whose cover of “True Colors” shows they aren’t afraid of attempts at pop musicality, however hard-edged). I, for one, think this is a good thing. If I had to criticize HWM’s previous records, the one thing I could say is that to me, a lot of the songs sounded the same. They were good songs, mind you, but in the emo-core vein in which they write, with little or no rhyme scheme and melody often taking a backseat, by the end of a HWM album, the songs tended to be a big sonic blur. A Flight and a Crash pays more attention to melody, without losing the edge or raspiness to the vocals. And every now and then, the HWM rhythmic guitar-driven sound incorporates new elements here. The drums almost swing on the appropriately named “Swinger,” and “One More Time” features a psychobilly-surfy. reverb-drenched lead line reminiscent of The Dead Kennedys’ “Holiday In Cambodia.” These are good things.
Epitaph Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026; http://www.epitaph.com