This is going to be a really obscure and probably random reference, but the first thing that comes to mind when listening to Hot Mulligan is a defunct Tooth and Nail Records band called Hyland. I believe I reviewed them early in my career as a music blogger. But I see parallels between the bright vocals and guitar tones of both bands.
Why am I rambling about a band most of you have probably never heard of in a Hot Mulligan review? Nostalgia, folks. Hyland emerged in a time when I was fresh out of college (was that really almost seven years ago? Yikes!) and served as a good transitional band. I wanted to cling to my youth but was excited about the future. I was living in my parents’ basement (how stereotypical, haha), getting used to the novelty of being a “real adult.” I suspect this band will fulfill the same role for many. They aren’t a typical pop punk band. The music has an overall optimistic feel while walking a line between angst and contemplation.
I’ve noticed that pop punk groups like to find a niche within their subculture and hang out there. Hot Mulligan occupies a space that is nearby Tiny Moving Parts in terms of tempo and cadence but is a little more straightforward in terms of instrumentation. Some will find this LP to be repetitive, but aging pop punk kids will eat it up. Am I personally part of the band’s target demographic? I don’t think so. But one thing I appreciate about this culture is its ability to take many emotions and hard realities of life and channel into a high energy, positive catharsis. On today, in which the March For Our Lives is taking place in Washington and dozens of other cities nationwide, it’s clear that kids are looking for catharsis (and progress!) within the harsh realities of the world. Hot Mulligan is making music that will hopefully help people like me, who are transitioning to the real world as well as for the younger folks that want change. Is the music political? Not really. Could Hot Mulligan be a needed outlet for multiple generations of music lovers? I think so.
This album is therapeutic and motivational, even if I don’t entirely get all of it. Plus, those titles though!
Standout tracks: “Deluxe Capacitor”, “How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?”