A DIFFERENT KIND OF GREATNESS

Hot Water Music
No Division
Some Records

Awesome. Just plain awesome. HWM, fresh off their "break-up," subsequent live album, split CD with Leatherface, split 7" with Six Going On Seven (which contains the best HWM song ever, in my opinion), and 2 new 7"s FINALLY puts out a new full-length album of all new material. Let me be the first to tell you, this rocks. These Gainesville, FL boys have their formula of "emotionally-charged hardcore" down to a tee (or is that just T?). From the opening chords of "Southeast First" to the tribal drums mixed into "Hit And Miss" and the slower, mellower "Driving Home" which is sure to become a crowd sing-along favorite, HWM has gotten their act together. After listening to the CD close to a dozen times (and I only bought it earlier tonight), I have yet to find a bad song. The CD only contains 11 tracks and doesn't even crack 35 minutes, but it doesn't matter. All that matters is that Hot Water Music is surely back, and better than ever. Don't believe me? Just buy the CD.

- Scott Heisel


 
CMJ

Hot Water Music
No Division
Some Records

Hot Water Music is not your average emo band. While the Florida quartet's honest, almost poetic lyrics ("We grow to either be or hate what's cold/And that's when we learn to know to run") lay the proverbial cards face-up on the table, their musical dynamics transcend the limits of the genre. No Division is a fantastic rock record, the heart and soul of which consists of layered vocals and loud, but never overbearing, guitars. Guitarist/vocalist Chris Wollard's serene, collected singing is the Dr. Jeckyll to the raging, gravel-voiced Mr. Hyde of guitarist/vocalist Chuck Ragan, who sounds a bit like the Dropkick Murphys' Al Barr. But you'll still sing along when Hot Water Music unapologetically caterwauls "Live your heart and never follow." Produced by Quicksand's Walter Schreifels, No Division is appropriate for both sweat-drenched moshing and sympathetic thinking. Let's keep our fingers crossed that these kids don't ever go into therapy.

- Amy Sciarretto: CMJ New Music Report Issue: 630 - Aug 09, 1999


 
INK 19

Hot Water Music
No Division
Some Records

Hot Water Music have released a lot of records this year, No Division being the latest and by far my favorite yet. Each release has found them getting catchier and more anthemic, keeping the emotion and sincerity right up front where it belongs all the while. Not a whole lot of surprises on here musically, other than the use of slide guitar and what sounds like a drum circle on one song each. There's a natural maturation as far as these songs being better than their older ones, but otherwise this is pretty much what one would hope for and expect from Hot Water Music, in all its gritty honesty, soaring melodies, fluid power, and voices raised in singalongs. Songs are penned straight from the heart, making it very easy to be pulled in. Lyrics stay positive even through hard times and deal with friendships, personal issues, and ideas of community and action. The stellar element on this is the overall thread of hopefulness and encouragement running through the songs that leaves me inspired and singing along at full volume. There are have been some rough days where this music has definitely been lifeblood keeping me going. It reminds me that I can -- we can -- accomplish anything. Great recording, packaging, great overall.

- Andrew Chadwick


 
PILLOW FIGHT

Hot Water Music
No Division
Some Records

When news surfaced last year that Hot Water Music had broken up, the smallest part of me was glad. The winter before, they released hands-down the best underground record in at least five years that breathed new life into the decreasingly aggressive emotional hardcore scene, and made any band without two singers seem incomplete. "Forever and Counting" didn't become quite as influential as Sunny Day Real Estate's "Diary," which some boldly predicted, but the disbanding ensured the same romanticism SDRE enjoyed during their hiatus: they could never fail or disappoint, and one could only dream of what incredible songs were lost. The few shows I saw instantaneously became precious, like years later I could say, "Yeah, I saw them play" the same way my dad talks about Mickey Mantle.

With the help of the "Moonpies for Misfits" EP (No Idea) and their side of the Leatherface split (BYO), "No Division," HWM's first full-length in two years, kills that pro-breakup part entirely. They've never been more hardcore conscious, due in large part to producer Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand), with heavy breakdowns, crowd-ready chants ("Live your heart and never follow" from "It's Hard to Know") and unity-inspired lyrics. While "Forever and Counting" was constantly perfect, "No Division" is streakier; though it's like audio Michael Jordan, they drop moves (drive right, switch to the left hand in midair, scoop it off the glass and make Sam Perkins look superfoolish) like that moment was the definitive reason music was invented. Then they do it again every 15 seconds. And what makes Hot Water Music so amazing is the diversity of their arsenal; in one way Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard's gritty yet incredibly melodic vocals are what set the band apart, but Schreifels' chilling backing vocals on "Free Radio Gainesville," George Rebelo's tricky cymbal patterns and Jason Black's looping bass help the "supporting cast" share the spotlight ("Jet Set Ready" features the best dual vocals on the record, but it's the blazing Rebelo who drives it). The songs have become so tightly structured since 1996's "Fuel for the Hate Game" there's never down-time; they're the only band I can think of where every last note is essential, either blasting its way through or racing into some spine-tingling crescendo.

"At the End of a Gun" is reminiscent of the Blacktop Cadence, a side project of Wollard and Rebelo, but the only song possibly construed as emo. Sure, "Driving Home" is exceptionally dark ("I know the sink and the rot gut feeling/ I know what it's like to want to end it all"), but thematically, there aren't many differences from Ensign, Sick of It All or Minor Threat; the self-titled track includes, "We'll sing our hearts in unity/ that we won't obey or follow hate/ we stand with no division." Even more roots hardcore/punk rock is "Hit or Miss," with Avail's Tim Barry's confident snarl, "We'll never be pulled down." Hot Water Music have done the hardest thing a band can do - follow up what should have been their best record with a progressive and different, yet ultimately better one - so if they can just survive internal dissension (the new rumor is they're breaking up again in the fall) Barry's line will be more prophetic than just wishful thinking.

- Rob Berntsen


 
SPLENDID ZINE

Hot Water Music
No Division
Some Records

Among the brightest stars of modern hardcore, Hot Water Music deliver the goods on their Some debut. Pairing raw-throated punk-rock shout-vocals with a robust musicianship more typical of hard rock bands, HWM deliver a big, solid sound that's overflowing with energy and sincerity. You can't listen to No Division and not be moved -- these songs get inside you and touch off rebellious sparks, and before you know it you're pogoing uncontrollably, every hair on your body standing up, little currents of musically-generated electricty arcing off your arms and legs. HWM don't seem to have any "secrets" that give them an edge against other bands -- they just throw themselves into their music and pull you in behind them. Ultimately, style counts.

- George Zahora


 
TIME ON YOUR HANDS

Hot Water Music
No Division
Some Records

If anything, Hot Water Music are consistent. Since 1995 they have been churning out a endless supply of quality music in anything from splits, 7", full length and compilation tracks. Before I bought this CD, I had only heard the split with Leatherface and the latest ep, I had liked what I had heard, they were great in a rocking melodic punk kind of way.

The closest I could come to a comparison would be a gruffer AVAIL. This record is different to the other releases, only in the way that you will be so shocked at how fucking amazing it is. There is no way to describe how highly I think of this album!

It kicks of with this weird cheerleader chant, feedback over the top before the bass starts and kicks the song off. This first song "Southeast First" is medium paced rocker with lyrics explaining the 'scene' and how you are (should??) not judged on what you do anywhere else only on your contributions and actions. "Free Radio Gainsville" is an awesome song, the 2nd time the chorus is sung, its going "... there's an army charged, ready armed, to educate * and demonstrate..." Just at the * the second vocal is over the top and its just the most amazing thing ever, words can't describe how fucking good I think it is. The rest of the album continues in this great vein, notable highlights are "Rooftops" and "Hit & Miss" and "Jet Set Ready"

If you want songs sung with a passion so strong, music so superbly played them get this from a distro near you now! A mention must go to the booklet to, its perfectly done, lyrics, great live pictures and amazing cover art.

- Steve