It’s eight long years since we last heard from Florida’s Hot Water Music, which has given them plenty of time to muse on the state of the world.
Musically, their reference points remain impeccable – the rolling melodies and starkly beautiful guitars of Jawbox, the raw post-hardcore edge of Quicksand, the defiant punk chops of Leatherface – only now, in their maturity, they’re embracing the Springsteenian blue-collar pop rock of Gaslight Anthem too, all dragged along by frontman Chuck Regan’s instantly recognisable rock-and-ash-gargling rasp.
It’s a fitting development, as lyrically they’re taking a good hard look at everyday America, from deadbeat lifestyles and rampant consumerism. There’s joy here too though, particularly in the gruffly optimistic opener Mainline, which sees them celebrating being back after so long.
As Exister barrels along at a relentless pace, the band’s unfailing loyal fanbase are sure to be raising a glass to their return as well.