Hot Mulligan
You'll Be Fine


3.5
great

Review

by Mathias CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
March 24th, 2020 | 49 replies


Release Date: 03/06/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Magnum opus? No. High art? No. Really good emo-tinged pop-punk? Yup.

Sophisticated would be a weird word to describe a pop-punk album, much less a pop-punk album with track names like “*Equip Sunglasses*”, “Feal Like Crab”, and “Dirty Office Bongos”. Sophistication seems even less likely when the closing track begins with the lyrics “You've got a type/Pasty skin and dead inside/Oh, and green eyes/Yeah, ones that look just like mine”. In fact, on the surface, all signs for Hot Mulligan’s new album point towards an aspect of pop-punk that largely disappeared in the mid-2000s, one of pseudo-intelligence and a gross reach for sophistication, the idea that being sad makes a person interesting in-and-of itself. And there is no denying that Hot Mulligan holds many of the postmarks of typical post-punk: Sad lyrics that get almost uncomfortably too personal, the questioning of why other people “just don’t get it”, broken hearts, and vocalists that border between singing and high-pitched nasal squeals. If someone didn’t like the genre beforehand, you’ll be fine isn’t the album that will change their mind.

No, you’ll be fine doesn’t try to be sophisticated in a way that comes off try-hard and Hot Topic (although there are undoubtedly other Hot Topic influences here), they come off sophisticated in execution. Even if the lyrics are largely about depression and other types of anxieties, there is no doubt that a lot of thought and care was put into their work here. The production on the album is superb. The obvious highlight is the guitar work, which is a perfect meshing of twinkly Midwest emo and pop-punk power chugging, in that it fits perfectly into the pop-punk atmosphere, but also goes many places that the genre itself normally wouldn’t. It shares a very clear resemblance with bands like Tiny Moving Parts, but has accessible song structures that resemble other more mainstream peers, but also takes more risks than many modern pop-punk bands, even those at the top of their game. With less than stellar production, which many bands of similar ilk unfortunately have, a lot of the intricacies the band have would have been completely lost within the mix, but instead each flair for the dramatic has its place.

Again, this isn’t to say that the band has completely changed the face of pop-punk - They haven’t. What they have instead done is mix the different aspects of the genre really successfully. There’s a bit of The Wonder Years in there, some My Chemical Romance, some Tiny Moving Parts, and even some electronic flourishes and choruses that wouldn’t sound out of place on some Forever the Sickest Kids cuts (how’s that for a throwback?). The passion of the dual vocalists is there as well, for better or for worse. There are times, particularly in opener “OG Blue Sky”, where screams and yells are utilized incredibly well, essentially being their own instrument. There are other times, where these screams become grating, used to emphasize every third word, thus losing any sort of power behind them. “BCKYRD”, perhaps the strongest song lyrically on the album, particularly suffers from this forced emotion. Additionally, even with its welcome intricacies, you’ll be fine also can fall into the “sameiness” trap of many albums in the genre, especially since it seems that ten out of the eleven tracks are all in the same key. But again, Hot Mulligan weren’t trying to make some high-art, high concept magnum opus. They tried to make 31 minutes of super solid emo inspired pop-punk tracks, and you’ll be fine undoubtedly succeeds in that goal.



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user ratings (118)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
dmathias52
Contributing Reviewer
March 24th 2020


1301 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4, but I thought the review read more like a 3.5. More social distancing review writing. Yay!

Digging: Owen Pallett - Island

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
March 24th 2020


25610 Comments


Oooh boy still haven't jammed this album...v in-between on this band overall tho.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 24th 2020


11217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nothing wrong with some emo cheesiness so long as it's well produced and not too too cheesy. Free Throw's debut is a general quality bar in that regard I figure.



Nice little write up, might try and jam this. Admittedly, thos stuff isn't what would normally be my kinda coffee cup thingymajig.

Digging: No Note - if this is the future then I'm in the dark

Deathconscious
March 24th 2020


24654 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is pretty repetitive, but fun.

Digging: Defeated Sanity - The Sanguinary Impetus

McTime50
March 24th 2020


1016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fun album

Digging: Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2020


1617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i get the criticisms of this album in the soundoffs, but this album hits me really hard, including the vocals.



great review

dedex
March 24th 2020


3125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Very cool review Mathias, have a pos. This was better than I expected.

Digging: Minor Threat - Minor Threat

Atari
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2020


25729 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

cheers for covering this, dmathias!



I'm glad you mentioned how great the lyrics in BCKYRD are, despite not being too sold on the vocals. song just reminds me of being a little kid in my back yard looking for spiders and it's hard to beat that feeling. I also love the kinda dreamy guitar playing that take over at times

Digging: Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 24th 2020


11217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The good ol' Atari 5. Surprised not to see you review this my man. This anywhere close to Trophy Eyes and Spanish Love Songs?

McTime50
March 24th 2020


1016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's closer to a more catchy, less annoying version of Tiny Moving Parts

Atari
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2020


25729 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

yo Mars! it's up there with those albums for me personally in terms of quality. not as down in the dumps as Spanish Love Songs or as dreamlike as Trophy Eyes, but it often hits me just as hard.



I think part of it comes down to if you care how "original" this is. others seem to have an issue with that but all that matters to me is the execution and how it makes me feel. it was deceptively a grower though. started closer to a 4 and I've made jamming "Equip Sunglasses" a daily ritual, haha



MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 24th 2020


11217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Originality can be a loaded concept these days. I think there's a difference between 'original' and 'fine-tuning what has been proven to work' and 'copying.' One is a trailblazer, one is a mechanic--improving an existing product, not necessarily making significant changes (though doing so on occasion), and the other is so much like another band, calling it out for being unoriginal is unavoidable.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2020


25729 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

very well said. definitely curious to hear what you think! the influences are quite apparent at first but it sorta takes on its own identity as you let it sink in

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 24th 2020


11217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is some feelsy bullshit



Which is to say, it's weaseling its way into my heart, per usual.

zakalwe
March 24th 2020


30891 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Aged 10 or 60 it really doesn’t matter it’s simply impossible to connect to this drivel

Deathconscious
March 24th 2020


24654 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Saw zak's name next to hot mulligan - youll be fine and laughed right away.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 24th 2020


11217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fully side with Mat's review. This is solid and entertaining, nothing better and nothing worse. Feel like the energy of the opener and "BCKYRD" aren't really replicated elsewhere in the album.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 24th 2020


11217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But the album is called "you'll be fine"



Surely that means I'll be fine

ResidentNihilist
March 24th 2020


1478 Comments


for now for bloc is pure evil

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2020


1617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the groove in *equips sunglasses* is so strong



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