There are few things more exciting in music than the sound of a teenage band on the rise. HotWax, a trio of 18-year-old school friends from Hastings, have been steadily honing their craft and building a following over the last few years through a handful of singles and increasingly buzzy gigs. ‘A Thousand Times,’ their debut EP, introduces a band ready to take on the world.
They accomplish this largely by delivering roaring, distorted grunge songs about love, infatuation, and the trials of adolescence. ‘Treasure,’ the EP opener, builds from the jittery bassline and zips of melodic guitar in the verses to a wall of thundering noise in the chorus, as guitarist and singer Tallulah Sim-Savage bellows: “Pain is past pleasure, and pain is past pain.”
Each member of HotWax has their turn to drive the song forward: bassist Lola Sam leads the verses with her wiry lines, and drummer Alfie Sayers takes command as the song enters its first chorus.
On ‘Mother,’ HotWax demonstrate their maturity with an anthemic juggernaut that progresses from brittle, dirty bass to fully fleshed-out fuzz. “Oh, you’re so mean, I’m telling your mother,” Sim-Savage sneers, grungier than Justine Frischmann. It’s a delightfully youthful moment, and one that only a band in HotWax’s current stage of development could write.
If the aggression in that song is directed at someone else, the trio channel it in ‘Rip It Out’. “I wanna rip it out my arm, then I’ll rip it out my chest / Then I’ll rip it out my head ’cause we were the best,” HotWax’s singer promises, first in hushed tones, then in a throaty wail, her voice matching the quiet-loud dynamic of her band’s instruments.
HotWax’s calling card has been blazing grunge, but this five-track EP contains some softer moments. ‘All I Want’ retains the Wall Of Sound layers of riffs and beats, but is complemented by chiming guitars and lush vocal harmonies. Meanwhile, the Wolf Alice-inspired ‘A Thousand Times’ alternates between sludgy and stripped-back, with Sim-Savage declaring wide-eyed: “It’s you, it’s you a thousand times.”
The young trio is one of the most exciting new bands around right now, but they’re still a little rough around the edges. Their lyrics can be simple, often adhering to an AABB rhyme scheme rather than branching out into anything more complex. However, given enough time to gain more experience and mature as songwriters, HotWax are showing all the signs that they could be mind-blowers going forward.
- Release date: May 19
- Record label: Marathon Artists