Hot Water Music

A Flight and a Crash

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A Flight and a Crash doesn't represent a radical departure for Hot Water Music, but it is somewhat different from their past efforts. The group's sound, which reminds one of bands such as Leatherface and Avail, is still reasonably intact; one can still hear Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard's intense, gravelly vocals over their crisp, melodic guitars and the tight rhythm section of George Rebelo and Jason Black, and the lyrics still convey a sincere, confessional quality without succumbing to self-pity. This time, however, the singers sound a bit smoother and there is less interplay between them. Also, the band sounds more polished, the guitars sound warmer, the production sounds slicker, and the songs seem more intricate and varied (although they still flow together well). The songs don't have as much of a singalong anthemic quality as some of the band's previous material, but there are some well-placed shouts on "Jack of All Trades," for example. There are catchy numbers such as "Paper Thin" and even a ballad, "She Takes It," that manages to integrate Ragan and Wollard's scratchy singing with acoustic and steel guitar. Some fans may prefer an album that sounds faster, heavier, and rougher than this one, but others will enjoy this solid collection of songs from a band who continues to refine their craft.

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