ALBUM REVIEW: Hot Mulligan – Pilot
Have you ever heard a band name and through to yourself, “what the heck does that even mean?” That’s exactly what went through my mind as I started seeing talk about Hot Mulligan popping up on my timeline. But it’s those wild band names that force you to wonder what their music sounds like.
Instantly I fell in love with Hot Mulligan’s EP Opportunities and knew that the talk surrounding their new track “All You Wanted By Michelle Branch” and upcoming debut album Pilot meant something big was about to happen with this band.
Pilot is the perfect introduction to the band if you’ve never listened to a single track. It’s everything a good pop-punk album calls for – angst, guitars and wild track names – perfectly packaged in a way that is setting Hot Mulligan apart from other emerging bands to the scene.
Made up of Chris Freeman (vocals and guitar), Tades Sanville (lead singer), Brandon Blakeley (drums) and Garrett Willig (bass), the album brings these four dudes together under guitar driven hooks, incredible lyrics, and percussion that drives the record. On paper it sounds generic, but the way it all comes together is something magical to the ear.
Most of Pilot was written in a few days, through it doesn’t sound like it. Freeman described the writing and recording process as “a little fast and a little stressful.”
“Most of the core writing for the record was done in just a couple days,” says Freeman. “So when we got into the studio after wrapping up a tour there was a bit of relearning to do. The recording process was pretty laid back, but a couple of us were sick for a little bit. Brandon, our drummer, went home the day after finishing his drum parts. That was kind of a bummer, but life happens and we had the time booked so we made the most of it!”
Opening with a track that originally appeared acoustically on Opportunities, “Deluxe Capacitor” straight away shows how diverse but tuned in the Hot Mulligan sound is. With a less distorted guitar riff than most of the other tracks, it’s the perfect example of everything the band is great at – the guitar driven hooks and angsty lyrics.
Tracks like “Pluto Was Never Really A Planet Either Even” is the perfect amount of laid back, without stripping all the way down to an acoustic track. A less distorted, simplified guitar melody echoes perfectly through the entirety of the track. Coupled perfectly under the meaningful lyrics and a pushing percussion section, you can feel like sentimental aspect to the track with it not being just another acoustic guitar track.
Having been sitting on the album since September 2017, Hot Mulligan is excited to finally release Pilot for the world to hear. Finally able to play some of the new tracks on their current tour with Knuckle Puck, Boston Manor, and a few others, Freeman mentions being “stoked” for fans to hear new stuff on this tour.
“Track 10, ‘How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?’ is one we’re looking forward to everyone hearing,” said Freeman.
A track that stands out for how different is compared to most of the album “How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?” is one a ton of people will come to love. With a stripped down feeling, it’s just vocals, guitar and a simple drum track for a majority that continuously build on top of one another. The flow of the track is different from the majority of pop-punk out currently, it’s got a rap flow with a punk feeling. It’s the right amount of different from the album and everything else, but it’s still clearly fitting in with Hot Mulligan’s sound.
The debut album from Hot Mulligan Pilot is out March 23rd via No Sleep Records.
Currently, on tour supporting Knuckle Puck with Boston Manor, Free Throw and Jetty Bones, the boys of Hot Mulligan will be non stop touring in 2018.
Freeman has nothing but praise for the guys of Knuckle Puck. “Those guys have been really good to all of us thus far. We had some van troubles after our show in Lansing, and they let us warm up and hang in their wagon until the tow truck came,” said Freeman. “They also put on a consistently good performance. Some of us have been listening to that band for a few years, so we’re stoked to be out with them.”
After those two tours wrap up, you can find Hot Mulligan at their third BLED Fest in Howell, Mi and on another tour a few weeks after that.