Politics get a hardcore makeover as Hot One releases their self-titled debut album. Unabashed social protestors, the band attempts to use music as an outlet for their rebellious views on government, religion, and anything infringing on the people’s right to rock.After scoring films like Velvet Goldmine and Boys Don’t Cry former Shudder To Think guitarist Nathan Larson employs his songwriting skills in Hot One. Their growling guitars and dripping vocals sneak political themes underneath sex appeal. In “Fuckin’,” the chorus might be filled with innuendoes, but Larson is really singing about secrets. From Christian children living a lie to “the skull and bones under Capitol Hill,” no one escapes the lies within themselves.
Other songs on Hot One contain similar analogies of rock as freedom from faulty organizations that keep the masses down. However, a lot of these themes come off as simply strong uses of imagery. When Larson chants about being under the rule of a dictator in “Do The Coup D’etat” you wonder if he is talking about his nation or his relationship. Hot One’s spiritual tunes are more straightforward. By the time you get to “Slave” and “…If God Is On My Side” the band blatantly proclaims the difficulty of being an everyman in society and how people spin religion for selfish gain.
Hot One struggles to balance preachy lyrics and the strong suit of their heavy rock performance. Larson’s grunts and falsetto cries hit the range of Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland. Matched with Emm Gryner’s harping background vocals over riveting drum bursts and clawing guitar melodies, Hot One eventually forces your fist in the air with anarchist empowerment.