Hot Cross


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On Cryonics, Hot Cross comes on like an East Coast the Blood Brothers, mixing ferocious guitar playing, desperate rhythms, and dual vocal shouting matches. It's an impressive punk debut -- charged up, tense, disturbing -- but still one has to feel like they haven't reached the intensity of the Blood Brothers' surreal narrative lyrics when they shout "f*ck not lest ye be f*cked," on "Fortune Teller"." But on this debut, Hot Cross stands out from their screamo peers with a good bit of D.C. hardcore in their sound as well as in some subtle experimentation. "Pretty Picture of a Broken Face," for example, with its catchy chorus could almost be Girls Against Boys until it goes into a classic hardcore breakdown; and "A Tale For the Ages" (the best track on the record) makes a huge leap forward from their first EP with a simmering, slow motion approach to punk -- truly a direction that could launch Hot Cross into infinity; maybe even put them on par with At the Drive-In, eventually. "Patience and Prudence" and "Frozen By Tragedy," similarly establish a unique sound for the band with mind-bending, almost psychedelic punk guitar work, and -- what's this!!?? -- "Figure Eight" starts off with some early Meat Puppets-esque desert cowpunk! Definitely a record that gets better the further into it you get. Hopefully the pattern will repeat with Hot Cross' career. With Cryonics, they are legitimately good, but they could be truly great.

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