The #1 hot new band Hot Mulligan have returned with their third full-length record, with ‘Why Would I Watch’. It’s their first LP since 2020’s ‘You’ll Be Fine’, which people in the scene still have spinning three years later. It’s tough to follow up such a monumental record for them, but they’ve arrived with a worthy album to cry and jam to simultaneously. It feels like they’ve taken everything in their career thus far and jam packed it onto a collection of 12 energetic, emotional, and genuine tracks with probably their most chaotic and scattered song titles yet.
The record opens with straight up pop punk right off the bat with “Shouldn’t Have a Leg Hole But I Do”. It’s already starting the trend of catchy hooks and melodies that’ll continue throughout, as well as great trade off of lines between vocalists Tades Sanville and Chris Freeman. It’s a track I’m sure is bound to go off hard live, as an opener to the set especially. And it perfectly transitions into the next song, seamlessly with “It’s a Family Movie She Hates Her Dad”. I think this might be my favorite track on the album, at least from a replay standpoint. It’s easily the catchiest song on it and I’m truly shocked that this wasn’t a single. The lyrics feel darker looking into them behind its upbeat and bouncy nature. It dives into growing up in a troubled home and developing hereditary traits that could complicate the way one would live their life. It’s also a track I can see going over incredibly well live for them. We continue onto “And I Smoke”, which brings up the energy with its pace. This one is probably my least favorite on the record, as it feels like a lesser version of “Shhhh! Golf Is On” and it’s not as memorable compared to other tracks. But it still feels like it’s part of the DNA of this record and how it flows throughout. It’s followed up with a more adventurous kind of song, with “This Song Is Called It’s Called What It’s Called”. This song from the start, until the end feels like it could’ve been an additional song off of ‘You’ll Be Fine’. The tempo changes and the different levels this song goes to is impressive, and I gotta give credit where credit’s due to the creativity Hot Mulligan are still able to pull out three albums in.
The record slows down a bit with one of my favorites, “No Shoes In the Coffee Shop (Or Socks)”. This song reminds me of what I’d imagine many midwestern emo bands would dip into on the chill side, but in the absolute best possible fashion. The way this song flows feels so naturally and has hints of their most recent EP, “I Won’t Reach Out to You” and I’m glad they applied it here. I can definitely see this one having the potential of being a fan favorite out of these songs. Now we pick up the energy with a more traditional midwestern emo song, but on the upbeat side with “Christ Alive My Toe Dammit Hurts”. It’s probably another lesser song for me on this record, but it gets better with each listen. I appreciate the chill bridge leading into a scream-y and raw outro to this track. We reach side B of the record with potentially the saddest song this band has ever written, with “Betty”. It dives into celebrating the life of Tades‘ dog, leading up to her unfortunate death. You can hear the subtle emotion in Sanville‘s voice, paired up with the haunting whistles throughout. This truly gives last year’s “Heem Wasn’t There” or 2021’s “Please Don’t Cry, You Have Swag” a run for it’s money for what’s the saddest thing this band has written. It picks up slowly but surely with another favorite of mine on the record, “Cock Party 2 (Better Than the First)”. You wouldn’t think it with a song title like that, but this track dives into some pretty relatable lyrics dealing with a friendship falling out and fading into adulthood. I feel it’s something many can relate to and the buildup of this track really encapsulates the emotion. It’s a good example of this band taking what worked so well on their first two records and incorporating elements from both into a song like this.
We reach the final act of the album, starting off with the first single “Shhhh! Golf Is On”. I always felt this track was a nice follow-up and complementary pairing with last year’s “Drink Milk and Run” in it’s energy and tone. In retrospect, it’s probably one of my least favorites but it’s undeniable how nice this feels to introduce as a first single and it encapsulates pretty well who this band is. The raw energy, the hooks, and let’s not forget…the cowbell, so perfectly used. We follow up with the second single and another highlight for me, with “Gans Media Retro Games”. This is another example as I mentioned before of Hot Mulligan taking elements of what’s worked before on previous records and mixing them here. The orchestral parts in the background are something new this band is experimenting with, but it works so incredibly well for me. So much so that this works incredibly well as a single, and taps into this band’s lyrical content at heart with “Was I the problem?”. Also shoutout to the video for going all out on the wrestling bit, and bringing back Dan Lambton into the scene even for just an appearance as the announcer. We reach the penultimate track, “Smahccked My Head Awf” and it has probably the best lyrics on this record. The lyrics follow the story that was started in 2016’s “Something About a Bunch of Dead Dogs”, followed up in 2020’s “Dirty Office Bongos”, and continued here. It’s about Tades‘ grandma, her dissipating from reality, and the sorrow of not being there for her. The emotion given in Tades‘ vocals as it builds up to such raw energy feels the most genuine from this entire album, truly breathtaking. The record closes with “John “The Rock” Cena, Can You Smell What the Undertaker”, and it brings up the upbeat energy one last time. It dives into more lyrical highlights from this record…touching on body dysmorphia, not being comfortable in your own skin, and having to live up to other people’s expectations and comments. These hit hard personally for me, as it’s also something many struggle with and it makes as a great closer to this awesome record. “Broke my bones to fit your mold”…god bless this band.
So to really sum things up, ‘Why Would I Watch’ feels like a worthy successor not only to the last album…but as an addition to their personally flawless catalog. Hot Mulligan are truly one of, if not the best to be pulling off this kind of music amongst their peers. With personal and deep lyrics poured out onto 12 songs and hooks for days, this band can go nowhere but up after this.
Check out the video for “Gans Media Retro Games” below.