Hot Lunch were formed by a bunch of dudes with a punk rock pedigree and a love for skateboards, but a listen to their self-titled debut album suggests this band could have gone through a wrinkle in time and landed at a biker bar in 1972, with no one the wiser. While the frantic tempos of "Handy Denny" and "Killer Smile" could be traced back to punk rock, coupled with Aaron Nudelman's gargantuan guitar buzz and Eric Shea's arena-ready vocals, relatively uptempo Black Sabbath tracks like "Paranoid" and "After Forever" seem more like the template for this band's sound. And given the heavy debts to vintage hard rock, first-generation metal, and '70s prog rock that are audible throughout this album, Hot Lunch was presumably inspired by the music their dads used to listen to when they smoked weed. And if ever there were a contemporary band suitable for lighting the sacrament, it's Hot Lunch; this band spent six years woodshedding before cutting this album, and the band is tight but generates a deep, pleasurable groove, while Nudelman's guitar work is evocative while possessing a personality of its own, bassist Charlie Karr and drummer Rob Alper deliver high-octane rock while keeping the rhythms lively, and Eric Shea is an old-school hard rock bellower in the grand tradition of John Kay (who he audibly resembles) and Lonesome Dave Peverett. The original songs fit their chosen era so well that the guitar-retooled cover of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Knife Edge" hardly stands out from the rest of the tunes, and a line like "The girls in your scene/Are shallow, dumb and mean/They care about their hair/And the stupid things they wear" probably would have occurred to some local band in the mid-'70s as readily as Hot Lunch. You wanna rock? You wanna boogie? You wanna think about it every once in a while? Then put Hot Lunch in your stereo and let the fog roll in over your mind.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming