REVIEW: Hot Damn – Sleep Alone

Hot Damn Feature

ARTIST: Hot Damn
ALBUM: Sleep Alone
LABEL: We Are Triumphant
GENRE: Pop-Punk

In my opinion, of all of the artists on We Are Triumphant’s overpopulated roster, the most unique act that the label has signed would be one of their most recent signings from South Wales, Hot Damn. The band’s sound sits somewhere in between laid back pop-punk and grunge (à la Basement and Daylight) — a sound that’s been massively growing in popularity over the past couple of years.

My first impression of Hot Damn came before this review landed on my plate, which was about a month ago through their lead single “I’m Not Island.” I would suggest it to be the best introduction to the group. The song displays all of what there is to be heard on Sleep Alone, with its catchy hooks, distorted tones, gruff, low-key vocals, as well as pop punk styled guitar work full of octave and power chords.

Then after that, all that really changes from track to track (on the surface level) are the vocal patterns, keys, and tempos. No real new techniques are brought to the table, nothing comes in from left field, and nothing leaves jaws dropped in comparison to other things that are happening.

But just as you think all hope is lost, few particular things come up to redeem the seven-track EP on subsequent listens.

There are some moments throughout Sleep Alone where the UK group’s guitarists mix in some technicality in some interesting ways, like the lead noodling in between the emotive strums on the bridge to “I’d Hate Me Too.” As simple as most of the lyrics on Sleep Alone read as a whole, there are a fair share of lines here and there that stand out very well individually. For example, the track “Willows,” where vocalist Chris Evans belts out, “Every cloud has a silver lining, yours are dull, and mine are blinding.”

Overall, Sleep Alone has a consistent sound that slightly hinges on becoming stale. There isn’t much here that hasn’t been done before, but that’s also in some ways the appeal of it. Some pop punk fans want more of the same and this record offers just that. That isn’t to say the group doesn’t have their own unique tendencies, and sure that will come to light more on future releases. Hot Damn are new, coming up globally, boast an approach to songwriting that slightly strays from what’s already happening, and show potential lasting power if only they can carve a niche deep enough to last the woes of being a young band. Should they release a full album with a talented producer instead of a mini LP with mediocre mixing, we might have a winner. Until then, the future is anyone’s guess.

SCORE: 6.5/10
Written by: Adrian Garza (twitter)

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