Record Label: Epitaph
Release Date: September 12, 2006
When Gainesville, Florida post-hardcore icons Hot Water Music announced they would be taking a break back in 2005, fans of the long-running band were shocked. Fan frustration was quickly eased when three-fourths of the band, everyone minus lead vocalist Chuck Ragan, announced that they would be forming a new band. The Draft was formed, with Todd Rockhill, formerly of Discount becoming the outfit's new second guitarist and Chris Wollard, former frequent backup singer for Hot Water Music playing the role of front man. Just about a year after their formation, The Draft's first release, In A Million Pieces, hit the shelves on Epitaph records.
The Draft was written off by some fans as Hot Water Music lite. While the compositions are much less technical, it's not that simple. The Draft's sound can be best described as melodic rock with a light punk twist. Blazing through twelve unique tracks, In A Million Pieces is laced with more hooks and catches than anything Hot Water Music ever issued. In particular, the anthemetic opener, "New Eyes Open", should have you singing along right off the bat, with it's frequently repeated chorus That's what I like about it/It's not so complecated. "New Eyes Open" might as well be The Draft's manifesto. The lyrics aren't overwrote, and the music isn't anything that hasn't been done before, but it is a refreshing no gimmicks rock record.
Meanwhile, tracks like "Lo Zee Rose", "Let It Go," and "Wired" should have you tapping your toes in no time with their infectious vocal and instrumental rhythms. Brian McTernan's (Who is one of the most underrated producers in the country) now-famous production, which clearly displays the rhythm section of a record, perfectly complements the album's otherwise overly melodic direction. McTernan ensures Jason Black's excellent bass, and George Rebelo's bombastic drums are not left behind while Chris Wollard and Todd Rockhill take the wheel with the album's sugary melodies.
In A Million Pieces isn't without faults though. For one, there are way too many anthems and lighters-up next-to ballads, and they are not spread out very evenly. In particular, the blocks of "Bordering" and "Impossible," and "All We Can Count On" and "Out Of Tune" really damper the album's flow. Along with that, the album is bookended with the two most "Hot Water Music"-esque tracks. These songs, "Longshot", and "The Tide Is Out" sound like they could be b-sides from Hot Water Music's 2004 swan song, The New What Next. The entire album feels less like an album, and more like a collection of songs.
As a fan of the now defunct how water music , I found very hard to get into this album at first, but my friends insisted i give it a few more listens, and after a while I realized Wollard on his own deriving partially from hot water music , along with black, rubello, and the discount guitarist whos name i cannot recall at this instance have created a great rock album. The opener is as good as anything hot water did, manual, 220 years, trusty chords, what have you, we all have our favorites, New Eyes Open speaks to anyone who can understand what it means to be left for dead and its catchy as hell. Its not the direction I wish the band move in, but the draft can write great melodies, after a while the songs just stick with you, out of tune, lo zee rose, impossible, all crowd anthems. Personally I think these songs stand out even better when they are performed live. check out youtube for some great versions of new eyes open and alive or dead. the drafts first album wasnt going to put them over the top or change punk or what have you, they just created a good album with strong songs that stand up when they are played live, technically the songs arent as complex as hot water music, but still i think what the draft wanted to do is not completely leave their previous sound behind but try to expand it a bit and perhaps draw in a different crowd. which is great for them i think everyone should own this album and get a chacne to see this band live, i saw them in asbury new jersey in a bowling alley, there wernet more than fifty people there but the band killed, best part was sitting next to the band at the bar while my buddies took shots with wollard and the lead singer from planes mistaken from stars, the set couldnt of been more than 40 minutes long but it was great performance from a talented band who i hope is able to achieve some sort of success which expands their music to the masses.