With pop-punk being a genre that has been very close to my heart for many years, it’s always very exciting to discover new bands within it. Hot Damn are the latest to come to my attention and their debut mini-album Sleep Alone is fundamentally pop-punk but with a definite alternative twist. A lot more angst and pent-up passion is unleashed within the lyrics and at times, it’s only really the instruments that retain the upbeat pop-punk sound.
South Wales five-piece Hot Damn begin their album with Sincerity, a minute and a half introduction that eases us in slowly with Americana vocals and a slow fuzzy guitar. Lapsing into the frantic Worn Out, which is the first sign of anger in the vocals. The passion behind the vocals force them to sing out of time with the instruments which produces a disjointed, interesting result. Although, like much of the album it isn’t stereotypical pop-punk, it still retains the rhythms. Worn Out also features a false ending at the three minute mark which is something a little bit unique.
My Life In Your Eyes is the first of the summery sounding songs. A singing riff opens it and it begins to take on a Boys Like Girls feel, reverting back to the more traditional pop-punk sound. Slamming drums and a melodic catchy chorus ensure this is one for the summer playlist next season. Willows is also an uplifting track with lyrics such as “every cloud has a silver lining”. This is the track that I think shows off the vocals best. The guitars take a step back and some of the best lyrics on the album shine through.
I’d Hate Me Too and title track Sleep Alone have strong resemblances to The Wonder Years and early Fall Out Boy. Plenty of energy and desperation is pushed into the lyrics and the guitars are sped up. There is a touch of electronica in the beginning of Sleep Alone and we start off by thinking they’ll throw us into a rogue electropop number but the innate angst stops us in our tracks. I’m Not An Island (You Have Nothing To Stand On) is another angry track that has catchy singing guitars. There is a real sense of revenge on this track which is a sure, moshpit anthem.
Ending on another angsty live track, Nosebleed begins with a fast bassline, which I don’t think there are enough of on the album. The soft chimes of the cymbals join in before it explodes into a fit of angry, anarchic guitars and vocals, which would slot in nicely to their ready-made post-hardcore set. A fiery and frantic exit leaves us wondering where they could take us next.