ALBUM REVIEW // Hot Yoga - Quick Hard Grind

“Hot Yoga is a three-piece surf/pop band from Halifax, NS, made up of Travis Flint, Wyatt Carson and Kim Carson. Their catchy hooks and cheap thrills will keep you enthralled and dancing throughout their diverse, electric performances. “
- Hot Yoga’s Facebook

When you read the title of Hot Yoga’s EP – “Quick Hot Grind,” it primes your ears to happily welcome the driving bass riff and aggressive crunching guitar in the opening track “Wasted Fine.” An anthem for any twenty something that appreciates the beauty of being blissfully and willfully inebriated while immersed in a head bopping quick hot grind of a song. With floating distant vocals and a halftime beat that wraps its fingers into the listener in an attempt to make the moment last just a little longer, the song sets the tone for the rest of the band’s energetic EP. A sound that screams, “If you like it now, wait til’ you’re buzzed and hearing it at an ear busting volume.”

The album progresses to “Dirty Apartment World” which is another clear call to the target demographic of Hot Yoga. This song being a total summation of the title, it’s fast, catchy, and biting. The listener can easily imagine the song was one concocted in a dirty apartment. It continues on with the driving bass lines and snare fills that begin to call attention to the drums, which might not be as tight or mixed as well as they could have been.

The album slows, just slightly, when reaching “Wake Up Michelle.” It is here that the realization dawns blatantly; the album is not mixed correctly. The vocals, on which a male has now taken the lead, are muddy and barely understandable. References to illegal substances sometimes bleed through, but it isn’t something the listener can easily latch onto. The ear becomes focused on an issue many 3-piece bands face. This is the fact that there is no bottom to the music. The bass is busy in the high end, and the guitar is sporadically tackling solo licks and melody lines. This is possibly the reason mainstream 3-pieces hide rhythm guitar players in the wings at their concerts. It is not a balanced sound, and isn’t as pleasurable to listen to as the previous tracks.

As the album moves on, the Hot Yoga sound is solidified: an interesting female lead creating melodies and lyrics worthy of keeping the listener interested. However, one can’t help but notice the ska inspired guitar that simply does not groove well enough with the rhythm section. It is an issue that would be easily remedied by the addition of another member to the outfit, and an attempt to capture a better sound in the studio.

The fifth track mirrors “Wake Up Michelle”. With some messy guitar but slightly more elevated vocals, with an interesting indie-distorted sound, it's a throwback to the drunken mumbling of the great punk outfits of yesteryear. The next song, called “Sex as a Motivator,” is a song that I could easily see fitting into a “the protagonist then takes ecstasy accidentally” scene in a Japanese movie. It is a motivator.

By the time the 6th track rolls around, the listener (or at least myself) is about ready to hear a song without a bass riff intro and double time drums in the chorus. This request is answered in a song you might expect to hear at a ranch themed bar in the southern states. “There and Back” is another youthful narrative telling of summer-like exploits that spawn fond memories. It is a departure from the rest of the EP, and relies much more on the vocals, which are often layered to create a sound I’m not entirely fond of. It is still nice to see the group pouncing on another type of style. The song also tackles a kind of dynamic not found elsewhere on the EP.

So while the album isn’t mixed to it’s potential and the sound is occasionally hollow, it is overall an inspired an ambitious work that shows a great deal of promise and will have me heading over to Gus’ Pub to see the act live. The band has just recorded another demo at JOT audio, which just happens to be run by Jame’s O’toole, my favorite audio engineer in town. So I assume greener pastures are on the horizon.

See and hear more Hot Yoga below, and don't forget to check out the show tonight at Gus' Pub with Black Rats and the Fantods:

Written by Alex Goyetche


No comments: