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01. Romeo A Go-Go
02. Off Broadway
03. I Been Gone A Long Time
04. Godspeed Us To Sea
05. She’s My Rushmore
07. In the Event That Everything Should Go Terribly Wrong
09. Hit of the Search Party
Sometimes, it's nice to review something that pretty much explains itself in its own album title. Every Time I Die, amid baseless rumors and a fair amount of shit-talking, have finally released "Hot Damn!," an album that I have personally been anticipating for a good while. To be honest, when I first received of this album, I didn't think it would hold up against their previous album, "Last Night In Town." I was hoping for an on-par effort at the least (far too many bands exhaust themselves by their third release). In fact, I think the biggest fear I had about "Hot Damn!" was that it was going to be another "Last Night In Town." However, to my surprise and satisfaction, "Hot Damn!" was not only well worth the wait, but it does indeed, in my opinion, top the band's last effort, albeit just narrowly.
For starters, ETID's song writing has matured dramatically, with the band putting aside a good portion of those all-too-chaotic and haphazard riffs in exchange for more structured and listenable arrangements. Singer Keith Buckley's much-improved singing vocals are also a highlight of the album, his more desperate screaming toned down just a bit to better suit the "new" sound. And of course, witty and "psychologically thrilling" lyrics are again the mainstay of this album, though they're more lively and sardonic this time around. The main difference, however, that separates "Hot Damn!" from "Last Night" are the vast amount of post-hardcore/rock elements that ETID has thrown into their music. The epitome of that concept is best illustrated by "I Been Gone A Long Time," a tribute to the idea that straight-up rock 'n roll can be incorporated into hardcore without compromising either, making for an album that is noticeably heavier than "Last Night In Town," yet still catchy as hell.
In terms of other notable tracks, I would sincerely argue that just about every track on this CD is pretty standout. Though it's hard to differentiate some tracks from others, a problem that "Last Night" had to some degree as well, resulting in the mixed feeling that some diversity is missing from this release. After a few spins though, each track begins to develop its own, unique personality. The first two songs, "Romeo A Go-Go" and "Off Broadway" start things off in an upbeat and frenetic manner, a mood which is turned 180 degrees by "I Been Gone A Long Time." The next three tracks are the ones most likely to be neglected by the listener, but I rather enjoy "She's My Rushmore" and "Floater," since they sound like a perfect resolution, lyrically and musically, to "Jimmy Tango's Method." "In The Event That Everything Should Go Wrong" is another complete 180, as it's a slower tempo, almost sludgy track, providing a great launch pad for "Ebolorama" - the "Logic of Crocodiles" of "Hot Damn!;" all due to the incredible catchiness of this song and, or course, the crushing breakdowns. The last two tracks end the whole effort in a decent-enough manner, with "Hit of the Search Party" being the more note-worthy of the two, especially as Keith yells - "Someone will pay for this. We'll squeeze his goddam brains out."
Production-wise, "Hot Damn!" is almost flawless, thanks to a solid effort of Eric Rachel and Alan Douches. The instruments are in great proportion to each other, though the bass could be a bit thicker, and Keith's vocals blend right in with everything. I do have a problem with the art direction however, which is a surprise since Jake Bannon was in charge of this aspect of the album. For the bulkiness of the packaging (think cardboard album sleeves and thick booklets), I expected a lot more substance than glossy, up-close photo's of a pair of women intertwined with blown up one-liners from each of the songs. A great conversational/controversy starter, but nothing more in my opinion.
Bottom Line: If you're a fan of ETID, this album is a must, and unless you were disappointed with "Last Night In Town," I doubt you could find this release unappealing. Overall, it's an incredibly solid piece that was obviously well orchestrated and put together with attention given to the smallest details. Not only have ETID proven that a fantastic sophomore release can be topped, but they have done so whilst pushing their general sound in new and different directions.
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