Hot Fiction: Apply Within Review

About ten years ago The White Stripes rejuvenated alternative blues/rock both musically and into the popular conscious with their third album, Elephant. Since then there have been numerous bands inspired and imitating the two man garage blues band formula with songs built upon heart pounding guitar riffs. The London based band Hot Fiction are exactly that sort of band and although there have been many bands like them, Apply Within proves there is still a lot this genre of music can offer.

The album can essentially be split in two, the first half is very much Black Keys inspired with rattling guitar riff driven tracks such as “Moral Compass,” “Old News,” and “Body Barely Touching Mine,” which has one of the most oddly unsettling sounding chorus sequences. I must have listened to that song 20 times and I still can’t suitably describe it.  All of the first five tracks are rich, tonally in blues and unlike many of their contemporaries who ramp up the volume and brashness of their riffs, Hot Fiction actually strips back and tones down the guitar and drumming allowing more subtleties and soul to shine through their music.

The latter half of the album becomes more morose in mood with the bittersweet track “Sweet Goodbye,” the soulful yet sullen “Gotta Go,” which sounds like something the Kings of Leon could have written, and the gloomy, regretful yet thankful track “Broken In A Good Way.” “You’re Not Alone” is a definite stand out as a simple yet haunting call and response song that should get the hairs standing on the back of your neck.

Although I’ve made comparisons with other contemporary bands, Hot Fiction are very much their own sound and with this their sophomore album they’ve created a fluid sound with excellent melodies, dexterous styles, catchy riffs and a genuine moody atmosphere that’s played with great effect. There’s a bit of buzz going around about this band and now after listening to this album I’m firmly on the bandwagon.

The Review: 9.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Body Barely Touching Mine
– Old News
– Harder Than Before
– Morale Compass
– Gotta Go
– Broken In A Good Way
– You’re Not Alone

The Big Hit

– Morale Compass

Review by Josh May

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