ALBUM REVIEW: Hot Mulligan perfects emo revival, pays homage to legends on Pilot

The popularity of Hot Mulligan has exploded over the last six months in the lead up to the release of Pilot, and as someone who was honestly skeptical about the band, every song on this record is enjoyable and makes it clear that this band is deserving of all the hype surrounding them right now.

Hailing from Lansing, Mich., Hot Mulligan are single handedly, and successfully, fueling the emo revival with their debut album, Pilot, by putting the emphasis on lyricism that hits new listeners like a dagger, yet brings old school emo fans back to the days of Taking Back Sunday’s Tell All Your Friends.

The record’s first track “Deluxe Capacitor” sets the pace for the rest of the album, bringing their brand of emo-infused pop punk to the table, making it clear that they planned to take an old approach to emo music, clean it off and make it look brand new.

Lyrics like:

Don’t you turn back on me, I brought your favorite CD. We’ll sing every high note off key, somehow it always made sense to me.

Show that the guys in Hot Mulligan have truly done their homework when it comes to staying true to the craft. Behind the words is the music. Simply put, the sonic composition of Pilot is a classic pop punk format. Fast drum fills, back and forth singing, and quick riffs are found on nearly every track.

At the end of “Scream Mountain” we find the song stripped down to a surprisingly pleasing acoustic guitar and very rough vocals that changes the entire feel of the song reminiscent of something you would hear sitting around a campfire.

Subsequently, “How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?” takes a new direction sonically, with the band channeling their inner Modern Baseball.

Personally, my favorite track off of Pilot is “The Soundtrack To Missing A Slam Dunk,” which was released well before the album dropped and gave fans plenty to be excited for once the album officially came out. The fourth track on the album sounds like the love child between a very early The Maine, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, and a softer Four Year Strong, Rise or Die Trying, which is an incredible dynamic. You get the call-and-answer vocals, mixed with the very poppy chorus that draws you in almost instantly.

Another pure standout on the record is lead single “All You Wanted By Michelle Branch.” This is the track that started putting eyes on Hot Mulligan during the lead up to the release of Pilot. It’s your prototypical pop punk song with lyrics like:

I hope this song makes your playlist. The ones you make and think I don’t notice. That every one has your favorite song you didn’t know until I showed it to you.

This track instantly made me think of Brand New, with a modern twist on it, and it’s quite enjoyable.

Now, I know that I just compared this entire record to the likes of Taking Back Sunday, The Maine, Brand New, and Four Year Strong. It may sound like I’m accusing Hot Mulligan of not being original, but that is not the case at all. Pilot is incredibly original when it comes to the lyricism that you could truly only find from the minds of Hot Mulligan.

The lyrical content found on Pilot is incredibly relatable, curious, and realistic. Songs with themes of love, break ups, partying with your friends and the like, Hot Mulligan isn’t scared to blatantly say what they’re trying to say, without hiding it behind blurred lines. I appreciate that they are straight to the point with their music.

I compare Hot Mulligan’s Pilot to the emo legends, not because they remind me of them or that they’re ripping off from their sound, but rather that they do an incredible job infusing the 2018 emo sound while respecting and paying homage to what inspires them.

The popularity of Hot Mulligan has exploded over the last six months in the lead up to the release of Pilot, and as someone who was honestly skeptical about the band, every song on this record is enjoyable and makes it clear that this band is deserving of all the hype surrounding them right now.

You can check out Pilot on all streaming services, and can purchase the record directly from the band through their BandCamp. 

You can also watch the brand new video for “How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?” here.

You should also have a read through our interview Hot Mulligan here, and keep an eye out for Episode 4 of the Resurget Podcast with Hot Mulligan, dropping soon!

Robert J. Sherman

Founder of Resurget Magazine.