A career-spanning compilation, 2004's Never Ender collects all the songs from the out of print Push for Coin CD-EP, two vinyl-only singles ("Alachua" and the outstanding "You Can Take the Boy Out of Bradenton") and Hot Water Music's contributions to four different split singles. Like many punk bands, Hot Water Music have always treated the single as one of the defining points of music, and therefore, Never Ender is less a collection of cast-offs than it is the sound of the band at their most focused and sure. The tag-team vocals of co-lead singers Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard, as well as the standard-issue rhythm section, are entirely within the stylistic parameters of blue-collar post-hardcore, specifically of the Social Distortion variety: medium tempos, articulate lyrics about small-p political and personal issues, and a feel for good old-fashioned rock & roll that reaches back through Social Distortion (and Bad Religion, the other group Hot Water Music most closely resemble) all the way to the days of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Thing is, these guys do this sort of thing far better than most, and Never Ender features songs like the Hüsker Dü-like pop-punk of "Alachua" and "Tradition" (an unexpectedly heartfelt rant against misogyny with the album's strongest chorus) that stack up against anything they've done in their decade-plus career. A limited-edition first pressing of the album included a bonus disc of demos and live tracks.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason