Album Reviews

Warmduscher – At The Hotspot

(Bella Union) UK release date: 1 April 2022

The Hotspot may be a fictional place, but this pandemic-generated soundtrack makes it feel like the kind of place we’d all want to hang out in

Warmduscher - At The Hotspot Warmduscher‘s third album is that tricky beast, a concept album. A concept album about an imaginary venue, the Hotspot, where you can just go, lose yourself and forgot all your troubles. It’s no wonder this was dreamed up during lockdown, when imaginary bars and venues were all we had.

The pandemic also had a direct effect on the recording of At The Hotspot, as Warmduscher’s regular producer Dan Carey was laid low with covid when the album came to be recorded. So instead, in came the heavyweight duo of Joe Goddard and Al Doyle. The Hot Chip team have remodelled Warmduscher’s signature grimy, sleazy post-punk sound into something warmer and funkier, while retaining the band’s customary edge – as you’d expect from a group originally formed as an off-shoot of Fat White Family.

The result is one of the year’s better party records, and while it probably won’t appeal to everyone – the swearing is liberal throughout, and there’s the same sort of levels of irony that probably stopped the likes of Alabama 3 connecting properly with people – when it hits form, the strut of the music is irresistible.

Wild Flowers is one of those moments, a languidly funky number in which lead singer Clams Baker Jr talks of the frustrations of life that can, well, get fucked, from deadlines, smartphones, stupid dogs, little old ladies and “the kids on the sidewalk that laugh at me when I fall over” – all of them can go to hell as soon as Baker arrives at the Hotspot. You may have to rewind parts of the song to check you’ve heard a lyric correctly (“how about you fuck your own uncle with your mother’s dick?” for example), but you’ll soon find you won’t be able to stop listening to it.

Other highlights include the propulsive drone of Eight Minute Machine (which only lasts two and a half minutes rather than eight), and the gloriously seedy swagger of Fatso, where Baker sounds a dead ringer for former collaborator Iggy Pop, describing the clientele at The Hotspot – “Smartphone Sally’s stupid, textin’ outta control, Fatso’s got Viagra and Peruvian gold”.

Twitchin’ In The Kitchen employs cheerleader vocals and some squelchy bass to terrific effect, while Baby Toe Joe is a sleazily funky number about the lothario of The Hotspot (“he’s Baby Toe Joe, they all want that lovin'”). It’s one of more than a few tracks that nod towards the disco-funk of Parliament and Funkadelic, and the fact that can lead straight into the 90 second long thrashy punk of Double Vision without feeling jarring is testament to the band’s skills.

Only the closing Greasin’ Up Jesus, which lasts over six minutes and descends into some self-indulgent jamming towards the end, only seems to outstay its welcome. The Hospot may be a fictional place, but Warmduscher have created the kind of soundtrack that makes it feel like the kind of place we’d all want to hang out in.

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Warmduscher – At The Hotspot
Warmduscher @ Chalk, Brighton