Every once in a while an album has a carpe diem effect on me. The kind where I want to smash my computer screen and jump on a cargo boat to some far off land where I'll live among the orangutans in misty mountains. You know: Inspired. Restless. Explosive.
This time it's the Athens, Ga.-based Hot New Mexicans that has really crawled under my skin—in the good way—with the band's latest eponymous album. There's no waiting for the good stuff, either. The album immediately kicks off with the hopped up "Start With a Maybe," a song that could be alt-country if it wasn't so frantic, and if it weren't for all the poppy oh-oh-ohs. That kind of balance runs like a spine through the album: glam rock riffs melt into mathy prog soundscapes and streetpunk beats creep from underneath heartland guitar strumming. "No Loyalty" has a frothed-up burlesque undertone. "This Is to Be," begins like an intimate secret before tumbling into a lighter-raising anthem that could warm a room even in the coldest Montana temperatures. And that happy, yearning, rock and roll heat keeps climbing throughout the whole song. The band is probably right to make its songs just under three minutes each (or shorter) and, of course, it keeps you wanting more.
Hot New Mexicans plays the Bike Doctor Saturday, March 5, at 9 PM with Goddammitboy-howdy, Noise Noise Noise and Tidal Horn. $5.