What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear a band is from Montreal? Yeah, I can’t answer that question either, and I’m the one who asked it.
Montreal is growing into a staging ground for rising indie bands. Bands like Arcade Fire, Islands, and Pony Up do give the town music credibility.
A band starting to gain notice is Hot Springs, consisting of front-woman Giselle Webber (guitar), Rémy Nadeau-Aubin (guitar), Frédéric Sauvé (bass), and Anne Gauthier (drums). Right off the bat, you can tell the band wouldn’t let up with its music.
Hot Springs share an interesting resemblance to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with Giselle doing an eerie Karen O impersonation on the opening “Headrush.” With a song like this, it would be easy for Giselle to get carried away during certain sections like the chorus and especially near the closing seconds, but she manages to maintain a subdued manic patience which results in a fairly consistent raw danceable track that could be mistaken for a juiced up White Stripes number.
This raw energy manifests itself through the album in the form of the realization that we live in a complicated, yet transparent world (“Cellophane”), of pain and loneliness (“Tiny Islands”), and of feminism (“Pink Money”).
With that latter track, I’m trying to keep it as family-friendly as possible with a track about why a woman ultimately has all the real power in any relationship: “All flirts aside, there’s no pink luck, no.”
All suggestive lyrics aside, there is a softer side to Hot Springs. Giselle emits this innocent child-like radiance in “Fog And The Horn” that you can’t help but feel a need to protect her: “sometimes you’re a mother / rock and soothe and comfort / sometimes you’re a lion.”
She extends this softness with her French-singing “Fantome Dinosaure” and even though you probably can’t understand what she’s saying, her words are soothing to the ears.
Hot Springs can probably be best described as cute and raw. Miraculously the CD’s cover and booklet art perfectly capture this description. The pictures are of little dolls living in a winter forest. Nothing’s cuter than a doll, and living off the earth is as instinctually natural as one can do.