On the surface, Amstrong is merely another group lining up to take a pass at the trip-hop golden ring already held by Massive Attack and Lamb. But take more than a casual listen to "Caught In My Own Light" or "Staggered" and a distinct personality surfaces. Core producers Frederik Bokkenheuser and Jens Danielsen create a musical surface much colder and paranoid than the dubby joints of Bristol while vocalist Marie-Louise Munck approaches her parts with a scorn woman attitude more akin to mainstream artist Fiona Apple or Sarah McLachlan. As the album progresses, the mood becomes even more rock oriented with the addition of guitarist Tanja Jenssen, finally hitting its populist low on the wannabe Lilith Fair anthem "Everybody Is A Poet These Days". At this point, the disc just begs to be turned off, but those too busy or apathetic to do so are surprisingly rewarded with the rootsy finale of "Cold River Running". Some might see this sort of genre hopping as artistic schizophrenia while others would admire Amstrong's for their diversity. The one certainty is that Hot Water Music is guaranteed to have at least one song for everyone, so long as their interest aren't restricted to heavy metal.
Hot Water Music Review
by Joshua Glazer