Hot Water Music

Caution

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Picking up where A Flight and a Crash left off, Hot Water Music is all about delivering tight and melodic hardcore on Caution. With even less vocal interplay between singers, the band further refines its music and allows its songs to shimmer with more production gloss. This only helps the group, which has an incredibly tight sound but hasn't always had the resources to make sure it sounded right. Here you can hear every little guitar flourish and snare snap nicely, which reveals the wealth of excellent melodies and lyrics the band is capable of. Every song hits the ground running, offering bountiful amounts of anthemic choruses and ringing guitars, while the music alternates between flattening listeners with a sonic barrage ("It's All Related") and lightheartedly bringing them along for the ride ("Not for Anyone"). Most importantly, the bandmembers display variety that doesn't intrude on their songwriting style but instead complements their thuggish attitude and aggressive delivery. They manage this by taking the general structure (i.e., fast tempos, singalong choruses, dynamic chord changes) and tweaking it so that certain songs are guitar-heavy romps while others allow the bass to carry the vocals on a bouncing beat. They've always hinted at this sort of songwriting strength, but they just needed the right people behind the boards to bring it out of them. By offering stronger melodies than last time but generally following the same pattern, Caution is the strongest album from the band since Fuel for the Hate Game.

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