Hot Water Music - Forever and Counting (black/gold vinyl /1700)$17.99
Hot Water Music's third studio LP lacks some of the infectious energy and catchy songcrafting of previous releases, but at points still manages to impress. The opening track "Translocation" is definitely a high point, with soaring vocals and a spacious feel that allows the band to really exercise their emotional rock muscles. The familiar themes of righteousness and perseverance are all over Forever and Counting, and the entire effort seems a bit more nicely polished than the earlier records, but the downside is a bit less energy and there are fewer truly unforgettable songs. There's more of a focus on melodic singing this time around, but the screams are still there to balance it out, and musically the band is as heavy as ever. The rhythms may be more complicated than before, and while there are plenty of disjointed changes to keep things interesting, the band's knack for vibrant post-hardcore hooks falls to the wayside as this record wears on. Like Hot Water Music's previous recordings, this record starts to drift off by the halfway mark, something that's more than a little disappointing for a band of this musical caliber. Still, the strength of tracks like "Just Don't Say You Lost It" and "Better Sense" make for an enjoyable listening experience and an exuberant emotional release, and this record still sees the band at the top of their game before some of their slightly less appealing releases flooded the market.