Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hot Water Music | The Fire, The Steel, The Tread/Adds Up to Nothing

It's been seven long years since Gainesville, Florida's Hot Water Music have released any new music. Together, that is. Frontman Chuck Ragan took a turn into folkier landscapes with his solo records, including a punk-troubadour turn in Feast or Famine in 2007, while the balance of the four-piece maintained a similar, gravelly, shouted-punk style with their offshoot band, the Draft. This two-track 7-inch and digital release is an arbiter of things to come from the newly reformed outfit. As one might expect, returning to the fold for a punk band with some miles on the tires brings with it a certain amount of veteran introspection. "Up to Nothing" chugs along with the band's memorable push and eminently shoutable chorus: "Somehow it all adds up to nothing," Chris Wollard sings, with a gritty defiance. But it's an edge tempered by time. "The Fire, The Steel, The Tread" seems like it may have initially been a Ragan solo song, with its dusty countrified edge and love-at-the-bottom-of-a-whiskey-bottle tone, but here it's charged with the full band's instrumentation and invigorating spirit.

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