Hot Mulligan - You’ll Be Fine Music Album Reviews

The second album from the Michigan emo band feels like a product of another era: itching to cross over, but without anywhere to cross over to.

Hot Mulligan are on that emo bullshit. All of it: alternate tunings, capos, and twinkle riffs dangling like loose cardigan threads, but also pick slides and power chords as slick and shiny as a Drive Thru sampler CD. Painfully earnest lyrics about cars, funerals, faded pictures, and cigarettes, but also non-sequitur in-joke song titles. Shouting matches between the yelpy guy and the guy who can sorta sing for real. And that’s all just in the opener of you’ll be fine, the Michigan band’s second full-length. Across the album, they bear the most telling quality of people who’ve given their life to emo: they hate it a little, too. Their targets include the self-aggrandizing scene police, the clout chasers, and the abusers, but most importantly, themselves.

It’s a gift and a curse: Hot Mulligan have undeniable skills, but they lie in a style of music that is exceptionally well-suited to expressions of romantic failures, nonexistent job prospects, and the futility of self-medication. According to singer-guitarist Tades Sanville, he was inspired to write “Feal Like Crab” after taking stock of his career and realizing, “I have almost nothing worthwhile on my resume, and that’s not dope.” A few years ago, he might’ve just used that as a lyric, but Hot Mulligan may now aspire to something like thinking man’s pop-punk, as evinced by the unstoppable chorus: a life that ends “hiding deep in some depressing little hovel in the background of the show you’re watching,” a an exquisitely wrought passage that somehow manages to seem off-the-cuff. But “Feal Like Crab” isn’t going to serve as anyone’s anthem for rising above their station: when the band bursts into the bridge, their idea of orchestral uplift is a single dinky xylophone fighting for space with the saddest possible gang vocals.

“*Equip Sunglasses*” casts its aspersions indiscriminately in all directions, as the rhythm section works the sort of percolating groove that might soundtrack a boy band’s pivot to real rock. Judging from their deadpanning and flexing in the video, they’re aware of the dissonance here, as a bunch of Midwestern dudes beating the Jonas Brothers and 5 Seconds of Summer at their own game. It gives Hot Mulligan the sense of a band out of time: In 2004, this could’ve been their “All the Small Things,” but today, there’s no Warped Tour, no Fuse TV, and Vagrant was last seen putting out Janet Jackson albums five years ago.

You’ll be fine is a lot craftier than Hot Mulligan’s workmanlike debut Pilot, but its immediately pleasing familiarity can work against them. Sanville’s vocal range is almost identical to that of Jesse Lacey or Dan “Soupy” Campbell, with a resigned mutter on one end and a strangulated wail on the other. But Sanville uses the latter voice to begin most Hot Mulligan songs, and usually stays there. you’ll be fine leaves almost no room for ambiguity, and is likely to turn off anyone with even the slightest aversion to emo songwriting tropes.

Though flecked with signifiers of artistic growth—some drum machines here, a little more reverb there—you’ll be fine isn’t exactly a leveling up. It documents a band at a crossroads that could only come along in their early twenties. “Analog Fade (New Bule Sky)” isn’t just about watching the love of your life walk away, but about watching them figure out where they want to go to grad school. “SPS” isn’t just about sinking into alcoholic despair, but about the guilt over how your drinking makes you a bad roommate. “BCKYRD,” the album’s thesis statement, essentially equates adulthood to giving up on your actual interests. “Things don’t get better, just different,” Sanville screams. It’s the closest thing to hope Hot Mulligan can find at this point: they’re certainly a better band than they were, and they seem ready to write about something different next time around.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Hot Mulligan - You’ll Be Fine Music Album Reviews Hot Mulligan - You’ll Be Fine Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 11, 2020 Rating: 5


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