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Hot Milk party through the pain on A CALL TO THE VOID


Release date: 25 August 2023
Hot Milk A Call To The Void cover
24 August 2023, 08:30 Written by Caitlin Chatterton

Barbie isn’t the only one grappling with existentialism.

A CALL TO THE VOID is a record laced with anthemic choruses and mosh-pit-ready beat drops that rails against the suffocating nature of the human condition.

Ever stood atop something really high, peered over the edge, and realised that nothing could physically stop you from leaping off? That discovery of human fragility – neatly dubbed l’appel du vide by the French – is what inspired Hot Milk’s Hannah Mee and James Shaw to pen their debut album. Formed in 2018, the duo gained popularity for their infectious, pop-infused headbangers including “Wide Awake” and “Candy Coated Lies$”. Now, A CALL TO THE VOID consolidates the band’s sound over eleven tracks of raucous, bouncing pop-punk.

The album shimmers into life with “Welcome To The…”, a throbbing, synth-heavy introduction that sees Mee and Shaw asking “Am I the darkness?”. It’s followed by “Horror Show”, a track driven by its snarling guitar riff that sets the tone for the oncoming album: this is the same Hot Milk that danced their way through the rest of their discography to date, ready to unleash their energy across the breadth of their first full-length. Tracks like “Bloodstream”, “Party On My Deathbed”, and “Over Your Dead Body” capture the heady oblivion of a night out, touched by the realisation that the booze and drugs are only concealing something deeper. It’s a classic theme of the genre, and this is very much a pop-punk record by the books – complete, even, with ‘candid’ voice notes tacked onto the end of songs and lyrics that, in places, err on gimmick. “Alice Cooper’s Pool House”, for instance (Alice Cooper the rock singer, not the mum out of Riverdale), stands out as much for its title and bloated, epilogistic phone call recording as it does its actual content. However, it is the definitive proof, if you needed it, that Hot Milk know how to write an earworm chorus. Elsewhere, “Migraine” and “Breathing Underwater” – though juxtaposing one of the album’s heavier songs with “Breathing Underwater”’s poppier sound – offer the two standout tracks of the record.

Catharsis runs through the veins of this album, written to flesh out the setlist of a rampaging live show. It doesn’t rip up the rule book or subvert any conventions of the pop-punk/emo blueprint, but it’s certainly a fun way to soundtrack your existential crisis.

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