Hot Water Music
One do expect much from Hot Water Music, one of the defining post-hardcore bands out there today. Following last year's great A Flight and a Crash was never going to be easy, and for HMW not only to do that but to actually exceed every tangible expectation one might reasonably have, is nothing short of amazing. Caution is a great album, probably their best one since the classic Fuel for the Hate Game, and it may, in fact, be the best one of their entire career.
Epitaph has without a doubt made possible a better, more focused production sound. And additionally, the increased attention given to the band after signing with a major label may have had a healthy musical side-effect as well -- HMW seems to only grow more intense and personal as they grow in stature, more focused on communicating their vision and on being understood properly. In many ways, this is their most accessible album yet -- the songs are incessantly immediate and outstretched, often direct and with strong melodic pop sensibilities. At the same time, this album shows HMW at their most personal and brutally honest, an uncompromising confidence, the music as tense as it is intense, both proud and world-weary.
This is literate and angular hardcore, following in the steps of pioneers like Fugazi and Bad Religion, although HMW occupy a space of their own, something too unique and idiosyncratic to be directly translatable to any other sphere or sound. This album represents HMW at their very best, a both challenging and positive band, playing brave and uprising music. An album of true beauty and unbelievable power, where every song seems to have something to set it apart and mark it out, yet everything is fundamentally tied together by the incredible soundscapes carved out by HMW over the years. Every single song offers something unique, but none of them could have come from any band but this. Quite simply, Caution is a stunning and brave move from one of the -- if not the -- greatest post-hardcore band around today, and not only does this catch them at their most idiosyncratic and personal yet, but it does so while opening up and inviting everyone along for the ride. Truly beautiful music.
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