Epitaph - 2004 - 41 minutes

It's often hard to figure out how many wake up calls some music fans need. Hot Water Music have been issuing great ones since the mid-1990s, but their combination of melody and muscle still needs to find the bigger audience it deserves.

Perhaps with this in mind, 'The New What Next' sees them stray further from their hardcore roots and into more dynamic rock territory. It's not as memorable as 2002's 'Caution', but songs like 'Keep It Together' and 'Ink and Lead' suggest a band arriving at a crossroads in their sound.

Still, the dual vocals of Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard remain a delight throughout and if the future promises songs of the class of 'Ebb and Flow', then the next what next should see HWM get everything that should be theirs.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Poison - End of the Line - All Heads Down - Monkey Wrench - Under Everything - Already Roses - Keep It Together - Ebb and Flow - Bottomless Seas - Ink and Lead - Early Grave Giver