This isn’t a slight to Hot Water Music, but I really miss their early to mid-period work. Hummable anthems, complex-to-play, easy-to-listen-to, gruffly delivered, emotionally involved, honest punk. And although it may seem like a slight to North Lincoln to mention another band in the first two sentences of a review of their CD, it’s not. I’m flat-out enjoying the flag they’re flying. It sounds less a contrivance or mimicry of HWM and more of an exploration of musical ground that hasn’t been fully exploited. Kicking over new rocks. Seeing new life squirming in near-darkness in the details. And they aren’t just kicking around dying embers. They’ve got a bonfire raging with undeniably catchy, rough power all fueled by rock-solid songwriting. They even lay waste to Fifteen’s “Notion.” And I actively dislike Fifteen. Recommended.

 –todd (North Lincoln/Salinas)