By Faith Vara
Artist: Hot Flash Heat Wave
Album: Mood Ring
Release Date: Feb. 15, 2019
After a string of singles and months of anticipation, Hot Flash Heat Wave has finally released their long-awaited EP, Mood Ring. There’s no doubt that these guys have a knack for self-reinvention, and this EP is no exception. From their garage rock debut album, Neapolitan, to their dream-pop sophomore album, Soaked, this newly released EP takes us on yet another musical journey.
Continuing their habit of self-reinvention, Hot Flash Heat Wave dives deeper into swirling psych-rock on Mood Ring. The opening track, “Floating,” begins with a soft distorted guitar fuzz and an even softer vocal delivery. The track continues to build volume and eventually climaxes with a wailing guitar line. This track is a perfect teaser for the dreamy psychedelic sound that continues throughout the rest of the EP. The following track, “Head in the Cloud,” is one of three singles previously released leading up to the EP. This track features a dreamy atmosphere that’s led primarily by a groovy bassline. The end of this track is by far what stands out the most, as it completely dives into the psychedelic sounds that they were striving to achieve.
The third track, “Glo Ride,” immediately opens with a short sample from “The Legend of Zelda,” which I thought was a fun and interesting addition. Following the sample is a silky-smooth guitar line that is revisited throughout the rest of the track. The ethereal atmosphere that this song creates is what makes it so addicting and pleasant to listen to. For me, listening to this track makes me feel like I’m floating away in some kind of void—in a good way. The next track, “Grapes,” can be seen as an interlude that focuses primarily on the dialogue as opposed to the instrumental background. The words spoken on this track are taken directly from The Grapes of Wrath, which provides an interesting contradiction between the eerie instrumental and the uplifting words being spoken.
“Sky So Blue” was the final single released leading up to the EP. This is by far the peak of Hot Flash Heat Wave’s psychedelic transformation. Sounding like the lovechild of Tame Impala and MGMT, this track offers a fast-paced sound that’s complemented by trippy synths and soaring melodies. It’s an escapist pop anthem that pushes the limit in the best way possible. The EP ends with “Trust,” a short track that mixes the sound of their previous dream-pop album with their newly established psychedelic front. With minimal lyrics provided, this track was definitely made to let their musicality shine.
All in all, Hot Flash Heat Wave’s versatile musicality is a force to be reckoned with. And having seen this band live before, I can confidently say that these guys are no joke. Mood Ring offers yet another side to the band that’s hard to resist getting addicted to. I highly recommend checking this band out, as they’re currently going on tour and also happen to be one of the many bands performing at this year’s SXSW!