Gainesville, Florida’s Hot Water Music are old hands at the punk rock game: they formed back in 1993 and have shared stages with the likes of NOFX, Against Me! and The Bouncing Souls, not to mention headlining Groezrock. With eight years since their last studio album they came to ‘Exister’ with arguably a lot to prove, but prove it they did.
The album has indeed been a long time coming: eight years is the lifespan of some bands let alone the gap between two albums. Nevertheless, that hiatus from recording shines through. ‘Drag My Body‘ is a carefully crafted fusion of early 90s rock and roll with an unrelentingly energetic chorus. The jazz backgrounds and rhythm section really shine through with some great technical drum work. ‘Paid In Full’ is where their punk roots start to come through, with some great punk riffs dominating the track alongside Chuck Ragan‘s signature gravelly voice.
Years of experience and their solo projects have no doubt helped to shape this album, and so did the gap between albums, allowing the band to create what could be one of the best albums of 2012.
You’re guaranteed to enjoy this album: it seamlessly combines classic rock and roll mixed with punk riffs and gravel-infused vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place coming from Download’s main stage. It’s the perfect record to have blaring out of a car at full volume on a long road trip or out of some suitably enormous speakers as some ribs get thrown on a grill.
The album can and does dip into more tried and tested waters with tracks like ‘Take No Prisoners’ sounding oddly familiar with both its temp and guitar work, but this is by no means a bad thing: done before does not mean it should not be done again. With a distinct nod to an earlier time of punk rock the song makes it all its own while retaining a familiarity that is oddly refreshing.
‘Exister’ is bursting with a rock and roll sound that frankly is hard to come by these days. If you like your music loud, rich and raw then you will love this latest album from Hot Water Music.
Reviewer: Cazz Walker