The Hot Melts

With their moniker sounding like a Panini shop, it would be easy to embarrass The Hot Melts but the early signs from their eponymous debut album are promising. Opener ‘Red Lips’ begins formidably enough, based around colossal grunge-esque riffs and a catchy, if disturbing chorus. Foregoing the redoubtable sound, the story enveloped in the track is one of tragedy with ‘Red’ seeming the fatality of a drugs cocktail. Not the most gracious of opening songs then yet for the rest the good times are flowing in an album that becomes more of a joy to listen to. Take ‘Edith’, thankfully not another tragic episode but another example of how a few fun-loving monstrous riffs can instil an element of confidence in a band, a confidence that shines throughout the track itself and remains. Even lead singer Will Bayliss appears to believe the hype with an impressively rapid vocal delivery that rises and falls with the backing rhythms.

‘Big Baby’ finally sees The Hot Melts have a real laugh, or a giggle direct at a plump groupie to taut basslines and Bayliss’ embarrassed, pained vocals. Any shyness is removed for ‘My Sweetness Is Making Me Ill’, instead unabashed swooning riffs addle themselves merrily to Bayliss’ lyrics of his new pen only for a sweeping guitar solo to steal his thunder. Just like ‘(I Wish I Had) Never Been In Love’, only with the track taking on a clinical pace in contrast to the rest of their repertoire. Such speed gives the gentle, candle-waving ‘Nana’ even more gravitas, proving that the band do have a heart to go with their rock n roll frivolities, even if Bayliss sounds on the brink of tears throughout. The downcast theme continues for the likes of the reminiscent ‘Shrink’, and even when they try to do dejected, ‘Depressed? Oh Yes’ still sounds more buoyant than their peers.

For the band to be based in The Wirral, their list of influences and likenesses is predominantly from across the pond. Having moved to Chicago after signing a worldwide deal with Wonderland Records, Epitaph Records’ UK-based imprint, the adopted homeland can be heard throughout. From the nerdy geek-chic of ‘Fun’; with its juvenile backing harmonies and forced lyrics of song writing itself could easily have penned by Weezer. Similarly, the cheeky blasé musings of ‘24’ about being the next in line to bed a certain diary writing girl is so unabashed Blink 182 would be proud. Or certainly the rather short and rather pointless homage to Yank comic ‘Archie’. There is nothing wrong with showing your influences, even if Bayliss admits to finding inspiration in Wes Anderson films. The feel good factor allied to an underlying depression figures prominently in ‘Happiness Is A Weakness’ whilst closing track ‘God Will Drive My Hearse’ merges the two conspiring features again for a rousing finale to an enveloping album.