“Dix Dix” is a track that seems to recall the diverse, eclectic style of the early nineties; mixing parts of Jellyfish, Audioslave (The Chris Cornell-like vocals) and just a hint of the psychedelic movement, Hotpipes start out “The Deadly Poison” with a varied approach. Shifting their general sound considerably to reflect a new-found ska and reggae influence (while having a vocal arrangement similar to that of “Runaround”-era John Popper), the barely-two minute “Recipe For Hats” will stay lodged in individuals’ minds well after the track (and disc) end.
The band seems to calm down and really approach one specific genre almost exclusively for the major part of the CD, creating the brand of rock (with a splash of the aforementioned nineties vein of alternative) that really is Hotpipes’ own. The distinctive vocals and catchy song structures makes the average track on “The Deadly Poison” as perfectly wrapped parcel that is ready for exposure on radio. The hard-hitting vein of rock exposed by “Short History” seems to show an assumption of a greater amount of punk influence. Don’t let that claim disappoint, either; there is still a maintenance of the same difficult and impressive arrangements that come through time and time. The incorporation of the multiple-part harmonies on “Short History” perhaps stand up as the most impressive happening on the disc, with the straight-forward, bombastic drumming of David really providing a close second.
“Big Bike Race” is a track that breaks through the slightly-reminiscent sound of Hotpipes and really is created in the same brand of dance rock that has seemingly taken over the airwaves in this current period. “Ski Bruising” moves into the realm of Queens of the Stone Age, replete with intense guitar lines (that move far beyond the average shrillness of hair/progressive metal) and a bass line that perfectly balances things out, all as Jon’s vocals dance over the ruckus. The operatic rock that marks “Arms Flailing, Shouting Loud” adds onto the precedent created by “Ski Bruising”, while continuing the all-out assault on the senses that is a hallmark of the music on “The Deadly Poison”. While tracks towards the beginning of “The Deadly Poison” were all strong in their own right, the quality in which the tracks were created on the last third of the CD show an intelligence to the band that really belies their somewhat “new” status (only being around for two years. Overall, an album that touches all bases equally well and is one to keep listeners’ interest throughout.
Top Tracks: B Line, Ski Bruising
Hotpipes – The Deadly Poison
Hotpipes – The Deadly Poison / 2005 Vacant Cage / 15 Tracks / http://www.hotpipesmusic.com / http://www.vacantcagerecords.com / Reviewed 17 September 2005