01. Fortune Teller 02. A Weekend Spent Askance 03. Pretty Picture Of A Broken Face 04. A Tale For The Ages 05. Dissertation: 14 06. In Memory Of Morvern 07. Patience And Prudence 08. Frozen By Tragedy 09. Figure Eight 10. Requiescat2003 Level Plane Records
After their impressive debut, "A New Set Of Lungs," Hot Cross have apparently re-evaluated their sound and taken it in a new and more creative direction. This release places them at the forefront of a group of bands who have emphasized melody and song structure over the more traditional "screamo" technicality and chaotic noise. The songs on "Cryonics" surpass any expectations I had, based on their previous record, rising from ordinary to extraordinary due largely to the memorable hooks and melodic structure. The addition of these elements to their songs makes this a record that could appeal to almost anyone. The disc's opening track, "Fortune Teller," combines one of the catchiest choruses I've heard in a long time with one of the most memorable lines ("Fuck not lest ye be fucked!") to immediately grab the listener's attention, setting the tone for the record. In addition, the great riffs and use of song structure gave this track an added edge that really blew me away. This track, like most of the others, features harsh screams highlighted with singing and complex guitar lines, all anchored by a powerful rhythm section. While this song is probably the disc's finest, the rest of this album maintains the opening track's energy and quality. Almost every song brings something new into the equation, showing the band's creativity and musical ability. The opening bass riff of "Pretty Picture of a Broken Face" calls to mind mid-90's hardcore (think Brother's Keeper's "Continuum") but combines the rhythm with layered guitars playing an intricate and harmonious melodic lead. "A Tale For The Ages" is the sort of anthemic rock that, with slicker production, could have been an MTV2 phenomenon. Thanks to the relatively lo-fi sound, however, it's fairly obvious that Hot Cross' goal isn't to be the next Thursday; they just want to make great songs, and more often than not, they succeed. This is quite evident on tracks like "Dissertation 14," which calls to mind greats like Embrace and Falling Forward wit its combination of catchiness and ferocity. Much like those bands, Hot Cross seem to have perfected a unique formula for making intelligent, thoughtful songs that can still kick your ass. The second half of this record's tracks range from the near-beautiful "Patience and Prudence" to the relatively pointless instrumental "Frozen By Tragedy," but the disc ends on some of its highest notes. The back-to-back closers "Figure Eight" and "Requiescat" are two of the album's strongest tracks, providing a suitable closing to an excellent album. Possibly the most telling sign of Hot Cross' intention with this record is the production. Technology has reached a point that with songs this good and technical ability this capable, this record could have been an aspiring producer's glossy wet dream. Rather than take this route however, the band seems more interested in crafting their performances and melodies than trying to sell fifty thousand records. Only time will tell what path Hot Cross chooses, but if this record is any indication, I don't expect them to be headlining Warped Tour any time soon. Bottom Line: Hot Cross is a band whose music seems to be walking a fine line between chaos and harmony. In the hands of a more commercially-minded producer, this record could have landed Hot Cross alongside other melodic hardcore/screamo bands on a major label. As it stands, "Cryonics" is a testament to the song-writing power of Hot Cross and the ability to successfully create hook-laden songs that don't lose their bite. As a fan of Hot Cross to begin with, I was probably more inclined to enjoy this record, but this is the sort of album that anyone can get into because, quite frankly, it really is just that good.
1 commentPost Comment
yeah_ 4/13/2005 8:54:18 PM
amazing record. Billy's vocals make my ears bleeeeed.