Manchester rockin’ newcomers Hot Milk have released their debut album, ‘A Call to the Void’. This marks their first release since last year’s ‘The King and Queen of Gasoline’ EP. This band has released numerous EP’s and singles years prior to finally releasing their first ever full-length, and it beautifully shows all the sides of this band and their willingness to explore and experiment further. This record plays to all of their strengths and really makes sure this debut album is one for people to remember.
The record opens with an intro track entitled, “Welcome to the…” and it’s a nice little ominous opening which has nice melodies delivered by vocalists Jim Shaw and Han Mee. The final line, “Am I the darkness?” really introduces the theme this band continues to explore lyrically and sets the tone for the rest of the record up until the last track. It goes straight into the next track and the lead single off this album, with “Horror Show”. I feel this is a great track to show someone who’s never checked out Hot Milk before, with the chaotic energy and infectious melodies throughout. Han singing the chorus for this one just feels right and nails it every time. We jump next to a more poppier track and third single off this record, with “Bloodstream”. It reminds me of the more experimental side of pop-punk bands as of recently, such as Stand Atlantic or Grayscale. I appreciate how the verses feel very neon pop from the 80’s, and Jim does a great job delivering that pre-chorus too. And I wasn’t going to forget about the brief riffage we get during the bridge, always nice. We continue onto the second single off this record, with “Party On My Deathbed” and immediately we get riff city off the bat. I think this is a great song to potentially open a set with, it just captures that energy so well to grab the attention of a crowd immediately. I appreciate how the chorus goes a different direction than I was expecting. Also the second verse having a trap part and immediate aggression after? Well done. It’s nice to have a song that goes different places in the span of three and a half minutes. It goes to show the places this band will go and how they present their band; I applaud them for it.
The album continues on with “Alice Cooper’s Pool House” and the 2008 pop-esque first verse and chorus afterwards is such a good way to continue on from the three singles we just heard. I appreciate how fun the lyrics are and shows this band can have that side of them. More fun riffs during the bridge are always welcome, and some of the riffs to end the song are awesome too. The voicemail from the man himself is a nice touch to end this one. There’s definitely the potential for a music video for this one to be off the chain. We follow up with one of my personal highlights on this record with “Zoned Out”. The melodies during this one are wild, with a great chorus and reminds me of a band from the late 2000’s. The synth in the background is a nice touch too, as well as more riffs during the bridge. The outro reminds me of a different time, where electronics would thrive in the scene…a simpler time if you will. It’s followed up with yet another highlight from this record, with “Over Your Dead Body”. This track feels more on the theatrical side throughout, a side of this band that is so welcome on this album. The verses are so fun and the chorus is very bouncy and huge, reminds me of the early days of Set It Off. The guitar tone here is wild too, and even crazier is Jim going into a little metalcore section during the bridge. Building back up in the bridge back to the final chorus really makes this one feel like a standout and a favorite of fans on this record. We reach the next one, that with “Migraine”. I’ll tell you what, a poppy verse going into a super nu-metal section before the first chorus is the kind of whiplash I appreciate from Hot Milk. I appreciate the contrast of the melodies Han is delivering and the aggression in it as well during parts. It’s a song that may not be a top 5 for me from this record, but one I definitely appreciate being apart of this record in how different it is to everything else.
It’s followed up by the final single from this record and one of my favorites overall, with “Breathing Underwater”. This track is an example of a rock ballad done so incredibly well, like the best case scenario for this kind of song. You can tell how personal it is to the members of this band and it comes across beautifully, as it’s one of the best songs this band has come out with in their career. It has a massive chorus, where Han and Jim‘s voices mix incredibly well and shows how good they work together. Plus a key change? Just when I thought this song couldn’t get any better, they know how to deliver with the goods. We reach the penultimate song on this record and my personal favorite, with “Amphetamine”. This is just the kind of song I look for and love from this band and they deliver the best version of it here. The bars also delivered by our two vocalists before the chorus, unmatched for sure. Followed by what’s probably the best chorus on the entire record (tied with the last track), it’s wild how much this band can accomplish. Also, shoutout to Julian Comeau of Loveless‘ feature on this track, his voice fits incredibly well with our two already talented vocalists and elevates the song to a new level this record reaches. The record ends with it’s final track with “Forget Me Not”, where it’s a more emotional one as it follows the vibe of the opening track. It’s a song that captures the vibe it’s going for so well and the lyrics back it up so well too. “Where you go I can’t follow, gotta let you rest in peace” is a lyric that is haunting and sums up this one so well. I appreciate just how well the pop elements work here in it’s favor and it contrasts this one being more on that side of things rather than the energetic side the rest of the record has. The fade out feels like a nice way to end this record, and it ties it all together nicely with the opening lyrics to end the album.
So all in all, ‘A Call to the Void’ is a truly impressive and astounding debut record from Hot Milk and I urge anyone to check this out if you’re in this scene and appreciate catchy tunes that have heart and rawness to it. They’re a band I feel everyone should have their eyes on right now and what they do next because this scene doesn’t deserve them. And I truly hope so many people catch wind of this record and jam these tracks to the heavens like they deserve to be heard.
Check out the video for “PARTY ON MY DEATHBED” right here.