Hot Springs don’t want to be your Facebook friend. They don’t care
about what haircut you have. They don’t care about your blog. They
simply want to freak you out.
more and more bands attempting to placate and sedate by mimicking
current trends, Hot Springs actually dare to bring something new to the
table. Leaving dance punk and current saveurs du jour in the dust, Hot Springs have completely reinvented themselves with their first full length: Volcano. The album dishes out a combo of perfect pop that sinks its fangs in, rock that doesn’t stoop to knuckle draggers, ballads that are fluff free, throws
a flurry of psychedelia into the mix (guaranteed to leave marks) and,
yes – you can even dance to it. Lead-off single, “Headrush”, holds
their contemporaries at arms-length with a hard-rocking seventies vibe,
hinting at Heart, with the piss and vinegar of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
still managing to distance themselves from the current crop of bands hogging up the blogosphere, discovering Gang of Four for the first time.
All of the songs hang
off the lyrical pearls and inventive vocal workout that come straight
from the gut of songstress Giselle Webber. Tracks, like “Tiny Islands”,
bring the new-school pscych of Black Mountain to mind, with a dark and
brooding epic that pushes way past the pop-esque two and half minute
mark. Other songs like “Pink Money” and “Cellophane” hit like a mitt
full of nickels, perfectly combining rock muscle with pure-pop song
craft, while the more genteel side of the band shears through
the most callous hearts on tracks like “Fog and the Horn”, that
will have your goose bumps standing at attention. Along with Montreal acts like The Besnard Lakes and Malajube, Hot Springs are among the most exciting bands to spring from the second wave of the Montreal music explosion, with Volcano quickly earmarked as one of the best records of 2007.
The Hot Springs' calling card was their 2005 independently-released pop-laden e.p., Rock Partouze (which
translates to “Rock Orgy”), yet the band would go through many changes
before putting together the gems that would make up their first full
length. Original drummer Karine Lauzon put down her sticks to dedicate
herself to motherhood and turned over her chair to long-time Montreal
scenester and drummer, Anne Gauthier. She and bassist Frédéric Sauvé clicked immediately, bringing more ballast to their blast, while guitarist Rémy Nadeau-Aubin layered the songs with new flight. This would only be the beginning of their metamorphosis,
as Webber began exploring her darker side with compositions that went
far beyond the pop lexicon - letting the songs blow up to epic
proportions with their trademark pop still in tow, but with far more
punch this time around.
Produced by Jonathan
Trimble Cummins (Bionic, Tricky Woo) and engineered by The Besnard
Lakes’ Jace Lasek (Wolf Parade, Land of Talk), Hot Springs hunkered
down in Lasek’s Breakglass studios, with additional tracking done at
The Pines studio, engineered by David Bryant (godspeed!
You black Emperor, Jackie O Motherfucker).
They set out to make an eclectic record that was as equally light as it
is dark, epic as it is concise and diabolical as it is divine. Not an
easy task for sure, as most bands these days tend to just ape their
singles over a record, but Hot Springs are not exactly your average
band. The final tracking and mixing session of the record was completed
outside of Montreal in the rural environs of Farnham, Québec in an ex-church/Masonic temple (La Petite Église), under the watchful eye of Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire, Final Fantasy, The Unicorns).
album is one thing, but Hot Springs prove that it was hardly just smoke
and mirrors and are indeed worth their salt in the live setting. If you
take a moment to google their name, you will be treated to a flurry of
people frothing at the mouth over their live performance. With no shows
similar to another (some sober, some drunk), the common thread is that
the band is always able to garner true brilliance, where everything threatens to fall off
the tracks before miraculously hugging the guardrail at the last minute.
A recent scribe from Exclaim magazine, who witnessed the band at 2007’s
NXNE festival in Toronto was moved to write “Easily delivering the
festival’s most impact and giving me a new favorite rock act, the
band’s consummate showmanship and ferocious energy was unparalleled”.
Hot Springs live provoke and poke, while Webber's on-stage persona is
out to taste blood. The whirling dervish of Webber completely commands
the stage, pouring fire into her words while beating out chords on her
guitar as if they had just been caught breaking into her house.
Volcano refuses to just sleep walk through the lackadaisical hit parade or the fickle fashionista
underground. The Hot Springs' agenda is simple: they want to deliver
what is desperately missing in today’s music industry – they want
revolution and they won’t rest until they get it.