Melodic neo-punk outfit Hot Water Music delivers another tightly constructed album of hard-hitting fare with THE NEW WHAT NEXT. Like 2002's CAUTION, THE NEW WHAT NEXT packs a massive sonic wallop, abetted by a crisp, high-sheen production that lets the group's surging power chords, ringing guitar leads, and jackhammer rhythms come through loud and clear. While the muscle and aggression of Hot Water Music's approach gives a clear nod to classic punk, the band is never shambolic or flip; their lock-sealed chemistry betrays years of practice and meticulous construction.
The band also incorporates elements of punk-pop (a la the Descendents and Green Day), indie rock (see the moody, appeggiated verses of "This Early Grave"), and nu-metal (in their anthemic choruses and epic, stadium-tailored sound). Whether pummeling listeners with blistering, pulse-accelerating rockers ("Giver"), or buoying them along on chugging, mid-tempo numbers ("Bottomless Seas"), Hot Water Music never falters in intensity. Fortunately, the band's penchant for sing-along hooks (the plaintive melody of "All Heads Down," for example), and for instrumental interplay (the bass-and-guitar push-pull on "Ink and Lead") counterpoints the thrash to keep the high-energy, high-impact dynamic of THE NEW WHAT NEXT interesting.