The Hot Melts – “Shrink” 7”
Acquired: SXSW, New, 2009
You end up with a lot of free shit when you go to SXSW day parties. Usually grab bags full of stickers, compilations in cardboard sleeves you will never listen to, SWEET CADET HATS!, and the occasional 7” shrewdly cobbled together by a band that thinks they have a better shot at getting your attention if they give you a piece of vinyl. For the Hot Melts, it worked. Five years later, I’m finally listening to this 7”. It sounds dated, or maybe ageless I suppose. Though it was released on the ‘Taph, the Hot Melts play a brand of Weezer-esque power-pop that is both ubiquitous and better than anything Weezer has done since Pinkerton (Note: Epitaph will release just about anything these days, apparently*). “Shrink” has a throwback pop vibe. Like thrown way back to the 1950s. Like malt shop throwback. It’s absolutely nothing special, but it is absolutely pleasant. B-side “The Alcohole” time travels forward to the 1970s and delivers a Bowiesque song about getting drunk and incapable of falling in love and possessing “lecherous ways.” There’s a little farfisa running through the verses, and for some reason, farfisa means fun in my book. It’s fun. The group is from England, which now makes so much sense as the English tend to be much more forgiving of run-of-the-mill rock and roll music (see the skyrocketing success of Arctic Monkeys). Or at least it seems that way, considering every five seconds NME or whoever is heralding some young new band as the saviors of rock and roll music. Or maybe that’s just a caricature of English music consumers that for some reason resides in my brain.
*I couldn't remember the band or the douchebag singer, so in order to find that Falling in Reverse video I just googled "Epitaph Records Douche." First hit: That Vice article that took the piss out of Ronnie Radke.