Review Summary: "live fast. die hard. drink blood. fuck all."1 of 1 thought this review was well writtenthe grain of the wood
on the floor flowering into the music, each fiber,
each splinter, until the tree
Ryan McMullen makes unsettling music, & that MAY or MAY NOT have something to do with the fact that Rev. John MAY or MAY NOT have killed a man. It's a mouthful. A mouthful of glass. A band of Stooges. The ***ing Hotlights.
There is an apparent tension throughout. Picture this, if you will. Ryan McMullen being musically coerced out of a meticulously wrapped package, emerging--handfirst, & gripping a glass liquour decanter--live at The Pink; eyes a shade of blood burgandy, lip-servicing stained verses, tongue-kissing scorched refrains. "High Society Torture Party" is a less self-involved equivalent of that; HIDE YOUR DAUGHTERS.
You get the feeling that every nuance has been tempered. The ***ing Hotlights' sound drenched in filth, slithering our of the gutter; champing at the bit, & intentionally so. "Revival", for instance--at the 2:03 mark--settles into a slow, mettalic churning, tightroping the pent-up aggression of the song's prior moments. This energy is, if anything, consistent throughout. Even when the band showcases a more "cheerful" side, as is the case 41 seconds into "Afterall, I am the Caretaker", it's relentlessly so; "On, & on, & on, & on..." It's this thinly veiled dementia that The ***ing Hotlights so successfully use as a converging point, each track pivoting from this established base, plastered, & frolicking straight to the slaughter, with a pep in their step(s); see "Sugarbaker".
This alchohol-binging, hard rock haze consistently threatens to bury itself, but, thankfully, the listener is offered moments of repreive in the form of rationed, pockets of sound. Be it a brief breather afforded by a slowed/halted instrumental segue, or the more endearing antics of McMullen's vocalwork; check his wispy higher register early on in "Awful Ends", or the vulnerable quiver initiating "Warehouse", or the shamelessly entertaining ornamentation at the 1:20 mark of "No Glory". It's calculated, & concise; "Cavity! Cavity!"
The cover art: floral, watercolored parchment, gatefolded, & unveiling its warmth; I wanna fight. It's beautiful, really. All the more fitting once "Hammering of the Goldbeaters" graces the ear canals. The song stumbles forth in a thick, throated grumble, before being undercut by squealed guitar textures, & spunky drum rhythms. The tandem collects itself, making way for melodic riffage, & McMullen spouting such inspired lines as, "Come on, baby. Let's drink his blood, & never go to bed"; the sounds coming together for a more poignant musical assault. All members seem on the verge of exhaustion, punctuated by cracking vocals, gang-chanting, & revived instrumental progression. The howling, & groaning is indicative of more than just delirium. The shriek of noise at the 2:01 mark? It's just noise. But, it could've been anything. Sax, violin, piano, MORE NOISE, ambience, silence, or what have you. The pallete is open, & willing. Surging forward, clutching the coattails of jumpy, impassioned guitar chords, it's curious that the build-up has taken this long to come to fruition. The bands first proper release doesn't see its first "proper" release until the 2:34 mark of the closing track, & it's worth every gutted note that's preceded it. Alluring melodies sway towards the forefront, the melody turning in on itself, & repeating. The bassline cradling the stamped processing of drums, signaling the release. Instantly, the melody seems orchestrated by the drum fills, seated in bass. I could listen to it all day, but The ***ing Hotlights aim to make you squirm. Immediately, the cover becomes a foreshadowing. Guitar, drum, bass, & vocals swirl in a ghosted drone of their former selves. The music is spent, in its final moments, flitting, & twitching for dear life. Plainly stated, it just sounds
I'm going home. I'm going home. I'm starting an official petition to change the band's name to "Velvet Elvis, & the Wooly Bullies". The ***ing Hotlights are OD-ing on the American Dream.
Why don't you join them.
* Lynda Hull, Red Velvet Jacket