Album Reviews

Hot Water Music Vows Punk Rock Theory
Wednesday, May 8, 2024 - 11:26
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A new Hot Water Music album is always cause for celebration. That is even more true for ‘Vows,’ the band’ latest offering. Not only is ‘Vows’ the band’s tenth studio album, it is also being released while the band is celebrating their 30th anniversary. And to make things even more festive, they invited the likes of Thrice, Dallas Green, The Interrupters, Turnstile’s Daniel Fang and Brendan Yates, and Calling Hours’ Popeye Vogelsang to join in on all the fun.

With the addition of The Flatliners’ Chris Cresswell and the return of Brian McTernan behind the board, 2022’s ‘Feel The Void’ saw the Gainesville powerhouse releasing one of their best albums to date, sounding as invigorated as ever. ‘Vows’ once again sees the band teaming up with McTernan and whereas Cresswell’s voice could already be heard on ‘Feel The Void, this time around the triple threat vocal attack of Chuck Ragan, Chris Wollard and Cresswell is nothing short of amazing.. 

Opening track ‘Menace’ is vintage Hot Water Music: solidly grooving, guitars that stab and then soothe and of course, those gritty yet warm vocals the band has always been known for. Just one difference though. With Cresswell bringing his smoother tones to the chorus, the vocals sound even more dynamic than ever before. ‘Searching For Light’ sees the band dialing down the intensity and ramping up the melody to great success with one of the album’s biggest choruses as a result. ‘Burn Forever’ simmers with post-hardcore intensity, while ‘After The Impossible’ sees Ragan and City And Colour’s Dallas Green joining forces for yet another anthemic performance. ‘Chewing On Glass’ - the only song on the album to feature solo vocals by Wollard - is as poppy as it is urgent and wouldn’t have looked out of place on The Draft’s sole album.

The band isn’t slouching on the album’s second half either, which they kick off with the expansive ‘Fences,’ featuring their friends in Thrice. ‘Side Of The Road’ sees Cresswell once again taking the lead on a track that does a lot of different things, all of which are good. Despite its gloomy title, ‘Bury Us All’ is the kind of uplifting track we can all use from time to time and while a collaboration with The Interrupters’ Aimee Interrupter and Kevin Bivona might look out of place on paper, closing track ‘Much Love’ actually sounds pretty amazing. And no, it’s not a ska track. 

30 Years in with plenty of highs and lows along the way, ‘Vows’ is all the proof you need that Hot Water Music aren’t quite done yet. I feel like I am repeating myself every time I write a review for a Hot Water Music album, but ‘Vows’ really is one of the band’s best albums to date.


Vows track list:

  1. Menace
  2. Searching For Light
  3. Burn Forever
  4. After The Impossible
  5. Remnants
  6. Chewing On Broken Glass
  7. Fences
  8. Side Of The Road
  9. Wildfire
  10. Bury Us All
  11. Touch The Sun
  12. Much Love
Tom Dumarey
Tom Dumarey

Lacking the talent to actually play in a band, Tom decided he would write about bands instead. Turns out his writing skills are mediocre at best as well.