What can I really write about Alkaline Trio or Hot Water Music that hasn't already been written a million times over and over? There are a lot of people who will be quick to tell you how great these bands are and how much they love their music, and then there are those few who will tell you how much they don't really enjoy them. Nonetheless, we have this EP. Does it matter what I think of Alkaline Trio or Hot Water Music? No. What matters is what they're doing here.
There are three Alkaline Trio songs, though the last is just a cover of HWM's "Rooftops". The cover is done fairly well and has more of an Alk3 sound to it than a HWM, per se, but nonetheless the brighter qualities of the original are still able to shine through. The first song by Alkaline Trio- "Queen of Pain"- is typical from these guys and sounds a lot like all of their many, many other songs. It kind of bores me, and the clever sort of lines that aren't really clever such as "the stars at night are big and bright deep in your eyes" make me think that even Alkaline Trio has grown tired of themselves. But then they offer the most awesome "While You're Waiting". Clearly the best song from the band on this EP, and yet, one of the finer songs by the band on a whole also. There's a lot of heart in it- much like the songs that made me like Alk3 to the extent which I do right now (which isn't a lot, but a fair amount). Lines like "you've been known to say that you're a.o.k. when you're feeling sick inside" and "'I'm not crying wolf', you whispered, 'I'm really dead this time'" make this song an instant classic. For most kids, these two new Alkaline Trio songs will just be addititions to their already growing by the hour massive catalog, and for others, they'll just find some comfort in, well, one of them at least.
Hot Water Music does about equally as well as Alkaline Trio, if not better, on this split. They offer four songs- two originals and two Alkaline Trio covers. The two originals they do are great if you like Hot Water Music, and even if you've never really been able to get into them I think you'll still enjoy the rock. The Alkaline Trio songs being covered by Hot Water Music are "Radio" and "Bleeder"- two Alk3 classics, mind you. The guys of HWM show off a bit on "Radio", keeping it some what true to the original, but also adding some more complicated parts. "Bleeder" is acoustic, and as one of my favorite Alk3 songs of all time, I must say this version almost surpasses the original.
Overall, I think this EP was pulled off very well. There were two very noteable and respected bands who, yet, also aren't a part of Jade Tree (they are both now on bigger labels), and they also cover each other's songs. The concept is genius. I just hope we continue to see more of this. Next time (or one time), can we see the Matt Smith connection EP and have Strike Anywhere and Liars Academy covering each other and offering new songs? How much would that rule?