Call me old fashioned but when first spinning a band I’ve never heard for review, I prefer not to read anything about them, and just go in blind. Since the internet and musical homogeneity all but ended geographic nuance in music, describing modern sound with words is an even tougher task, especially for these battered old cloth ears. But I like a challenge.
That said, on opener ‘I think I’m Done’ HOT MASS evoke the chord-bending indie punk sounds of the Nineties U.S., taking a long drive between Tacoma, WA (SEAWEED) and Chapel Hill, NC (ARCHERS OF LOAF), filtered through modern U.K. melodic punk by way of HOT WATER MUSIC and FORMER CELL MATES (both by way of LEATHERFACE).
And with that driving U.K. melodic pop punk edge also not dissimilar to SPOILERS, straight out of the gate HOT MASS sound road tested and fine tuned (and upon checking, it turns out they are from Swansea and feature members of bands such as ARTERIES and DIVIDERS), and are more than up for the long haul.
The instantly outstanding song on here to these ears is the rising and falling ‘Action At A Distance’. The kind of heartfelt tune that strikes an instant chord, and the whole crowd ends up with their fists in the air. Such dynamic song writing is a rare gift for a new band to craft, and given time the post-nervous tension could be terrifying.
So HOT MASS presented their debut to a world that may not notice, but the result is a record with depth, character but above all, one that doesn’t slavishly imitate, but instead takes a few fistfuls from here and there and throws it all in the mix. Something we need a lot more of these days to be honest. I think I’m done.