EP | DL
9 / 10
HOTGOTHIC, 3 piece electro-clash crack-rockers, have released their 5th studio EP, ‘PUNCHLINE’, Louder Than War’s Josh Cooper reviews.
This 4 track vinyl release marks the debut of the new HOTGOTHIC line-up, having been through various incarnations over the past 10 years. In fact, gang-leader Malibu Stacy has taken his project with him across the world as something that resembles more of an art collective than a band. Malibu, influenced by the likes of Suicide and GG Allen, took his machine beat punk rock from hometown New Zealand to Finland where he and his drum machine, Professor Tsunami (a pastiche pet name inspired by 80s goth rock legends The Sisters Of Mercy), gained a reputation for scuzzy dance beats, anthemic punk songwriting and raucous live performances.
After relocating to London, Malibu recruited likeminded soul, and bass extraordinaire, Dr Jacket and the duo quickly became something of an underground cult sensation, showcasing a frankly unrivalled energetic live persona across London’s dirtier dive bar venues. They amounted an impressive back catalogue of releases, gig partners and shows including various house parties, art galleries, charity events plus a year’s residence as the house band at Stoke Newington’s Conservative Party club night, a night named ironically after their fiercely left-wing ideals.
In 2013 the planets aligned and boys took on Sean ‘Bitches’ Daley, classically trained pianist, on keys and Kaos Pad and HOTGOTHIC was reborn. Now, with a reinvigorated electro sound, the pounding, clinical drums of Professor Tsunami, heavy hard-rock bass and the masterful stagemanship of Malibu Stacy, this band is set to blow, poised on the brink to bigger things.
The ‘PUNCHLINE’ EP impresses, when compared to HGs previous releases, with the buffed up addition of Daley and improved recording quality. It offers a welcome surprise to all that have followed the movement this far, and provides a perfect gateway drug to anyone that is, as yet, uninfected. The EP kicks off with mood-setter ‘CELEBRETEASE’ which sounds off with a rolling bass line, full rock n’ roll swagger and a pure punk rock chorus that brings to mind the likes of Alien Sex Fiend and The Damned whilst ‘POLEPOSITION’ is a glam-rock party tune complete with fist-to-the-air backing vocals and coked up electro beats. These tracks, like HOTGOTHICs recent live performances, show the band at their most confident, the songwriting is powerful and direct but look beneath the surface and you’ll discover the bass riffs are far from simple and the keys hum a beautiful tone complimenting their abrasive machine backing.
‘SMACKUOUT’ is dirtier, with scuzzy riffs and extra-terrestrial synth sound effects reminiscent of old Sci-fi B-movies, partnered with cool, crooning vocals that draw you in. Unsurprisingly really, the chorus does exactly what it says on the tin: “Smack you out”. Full throttle, aggressive, fighting music, this one was made for their live shows, you can almost see the heap of sweaty bodies climbing over each other at the front of the stage, soaked in strobe lights and dry ice.
Another track written with the performance in mind is head-on, EP closer ‘SUCNFUC’, a pure Gary Glitter-esque stomper like you’ve never heard before. Resisting the urge to compare it to a certain other stomper heard regularly on the circuit, the track actually does a lot for the EP, reigning the listener back to what HOTGOTHIC do best: Glam rock, in-your-face, electro-clash beats with catchy-as-hell hooks.
HOTGOTHIC describe themselves as ‘Crack Rock’ and it’s hard to disagree once you’ve had just a little taste of what they’ve got to offer, get fully immersed and you’ll find yourself on a motorcycle that refuses to stop, a party that that still lingers long after the sun has risen.
All words by Josh Cooper. You can find Josh’s author’s archive here.