Exister, and (though technically this could just be my current mood) it’s pretty depressing?
Both lyrically (“Or are we emptiness/are we dead to this/when will it all end?’… “Our state of grace is gone” … “We drown in it/still hopeful/a little bit”) and visually (the album cover and lyric sheet are a muddy-brown-on-black with little other distinguishing features), while the music itself is pretty banal - Caution with somewhat warmer recording, The New What Next with the experimentation toned down, echoing all the while and faintly with the sound of all the earlier albums - though not without some moments of engagement.
It seems their current fans are lapping it up, presumably as vaguely emotional post-hardcore, even if critic-punks are sceptical. I think I can find more to love in it than Heller does, but there remains the fact that it’s an album called Exister from a band that’s, well, been around and releasing for a while, and right now it feels like it could be a concept album called Ennui in the form of an ageing post-hardcore band mired in depression and documenting their feelings of despondency on record in the dull irony of weakly cathartic punk rock notably uninspired by the glories of their previous work, but holding up a functional and workaday mirror to their signature style. Y’know, an entire album that just said ‘this is as good as it gets, sometimes’? Or again, that could just be my current mood.
Use the photo reply. Or reblog.
My favourite album cover is not only that of my favourite album, A Flight and a Crash, but my favourite album covers are all those of the same band, Hot Water Music, and done by the same artist, Scott Sinclair. Some examples:
brianmlatimer said: Given the amount of writing you've done on Hot Water Music, I was curious to see if you'd had anything to say about The Draft's 'In A Million Pieces' ? Looking through the archive I couldn't find anything, and while a line of comparison between it and HWM's 'Caution' could be drawn pretty easily, I (for one) am interested in hearing any thoughts you may have on it - provided that the aforementioned similarities didn't leave you unimpressed to the point of dismissal.
I’m afraid that’s kinda the case… except I already see Caution as a quite specific outlier in the HWM oeuvre, which peaks for me with A Flight and a Crash and then dips, but picks up quite considerably with The New What Next, an album I’m quite fond of (possibly because it’s the one record I got to experience on release while already a determined fan of the band). The Draft album isn’t really bad by any means, and arguably sounds better than Caution, but I’ve just never warmed to it. I’m not sure I’m competent of identifying exactly where the difference or differences lie, but being only 3/4 of the full band, I definitely think it lacks the roundedness and multi-layered structure that defines Hot Water Music for me in general, and an album such as The New What Next in particular (given the high production values, the mature writing style, the general air of a band with a lot of achievements behind them). I was told by a friend who picks up these things a lot faster than I do that In A Million Pieces had some very good songs on it, but it never grabbed me the way HWM albums (except for, until recently, Caution) did with their complex appeal.
As it happens, I’ve never had the fortune to see Hot Water Music live, but I did see the Draft and the Bouncing Souls perform as a headliner for one of the first gigs I ever attended in Dublin. The Draft were reasonably impressive - I was only getting the hang of live music then, however - if alarmingly drunken, so I guess you could say I got a slight taste of the HWM experience, but on that night it was the Bouncing Souls who I was definitely there to see and came away a true believer.
Thanks for the thought-provoking question!