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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Hot Springs
Volcano
Quire

Rating: 6/10 ?


October 5, 2007
Does a rock-n-roll song title get more rock-n-roll-cliche than "Headrush?" I think not, but then again an opening verse doesn't get more Wilson sisters than "Honey you know magic/ you could fly this train/ come on, let's get childish/ you and I's the same." The 1-4-5 chords that blare from my stereo are making my living room feel like a Seventies dive bar, complete with Eagles-inundated jukebox. But just as I'm about to hit the stop button with my pool cue, and turn off this Heart rehash, "Fog and the Horn" comes on and saves the day. Or at least it saves Volcano, the debut album by Montreal's Hot Springs.

Lead singer Giselle Webber combines the determination of Melissa Etheridge and the squawk of Bjork. Her band, for the most part, sound like the most straightforward ensemble since Pat Benatar possied up her gang. Hot Springs are billed as yet another hot export from Quebec's largest city; the namechecking of the producers, engineers and mixers on Volcano calls up The Besnard Lakes, Arcade Fire, Unicorns, et al. The irony is that this album would've sounded just as effective if it were recorded and produced in the band's garage.

Volcano is the unwittingly perfect title for this release: most of the time it lies dormant, with nothing going on but some classic rock revisionism. Then, every third or fourth song erupts into something ear-catching, with an organic flow. Aforementioned "Fog and the Horn" is so wide-eyed glamorous, it matters not that it lifts the progression of Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Maps." When Webber tenderly whimpers "Ocean/ I can hardly smell you/ live inside a river/ becoming landlubber," it's enough to melt one's Heart. "Tiny Islands" starts with a prog homage to Styx before kicking in some backbone rhythms and vocal squalls that champion the sorely-missed Elastica.

Hot Springs are a mixed proposition. They can be boring and exciting, derivative and original, and they can do it all within a span of a few songs. "38th Adventure," Volcano's closer, is their best offering, a bopping gem that clearly shows they know how to turn up the senseless fun. It reminds me of Sweden's excellent outfit Love is All, sans their manic energy. Hot Springs would do well to channel their latent zaniness more, maybe following their very own idiosyncratic reveries: "Found a train-car filled with wine!/ you drew comics on the walls/ while I strummed my wee guitar/ man, you looked awful bizarre/ lying naked on your side/ roasting chestnuts on the ground." Yeah, yeah, yeah, that sounds about right.

Reviewed by Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other reviews by Ari Shapiro

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