Hot Water Music - A Flight and a Crash (Cover Artwork)

Hot Water Music

A Flight and a Crash (2001)


After having seen Hot Water Music's incredible live show at least a dozen times and hearing all of their full-lengths, I still didn't get this band. I'd go to their shows and see everyone going completely insane, even people who I know have excellent musical taste. While watching their set in Rome this summer, I finally figured it out: Hot Water Music don't write songs, they write bits of songs and stick them together in a seemingly random fashion. Their parts are completely incredible, always played with more heart than a whole block's worth of McDonald's could ever hope to clog, but like today's other review, Benton Falls, there's nothing holding those bits together.

It's not surprising that not a lot has changed on A Flight and a Crash. A lot of people were shocked when Hot Water Music decided to sign to Epitaph, but they're not the type of band to up and change their style completely, and Epitaph isn't the type of label to make them. The same guy does all the artwork, the band still dresses the same, they don't tour with NOFX, and, yes, their songs are all written, executed, and produced in roughly the same style, for better or for worse.

In almost every way, this record is indistinguishable from any other Hot Water Music record. Fans will eat this up, but it's likely that people who didn't like this band before won't immediately start liking them now. There is, however, one exception to this rule that shines through this album like a beacon: "Paper Thin."

"Paper Thin" is easily the best song that this band has ever written (and it should be noted that it's one of the only "songs" the band has ever written), and it is absolutely phenomenal. When you fuse HWM's obvious ability to perform with what is truly a great song, the result is something magical.

I'm tempted to say that "Paper Thin" is reason in and of itself to buy this CD, but I think that that's being a little over-zealous. It's a decent album, two minutes and twenty-four seconds of which leap over the line into near-greatness. If you're already a fan, you probably own this disc, but if you never really liked Hot Water Music before and you see this disc somewhere for cheap, pop it in, go to track three and listen to it over and over.

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