Hot Cross Fair Trades and Farewells

It’s still hard to fathom that Hot Cross drummer Greg Drudy was originally in Interpol, given his band’s penchant for innovative sonic chaos. What makes more sense is that he’s the man behind Level Plane records, a label quickly building its rep on atypical hardcore noise, with the likes of Lickgoldensky, Anodyne and Minor Times currently on the roster. But the label’s best unit may be Hot Cross (for which Drudy drums). Following up on their excellent Cryonics full-length, Fair Trades and Farewells builds upon the unorthodox riffing (clean, almost country-ish at times), the lessons learned from the band’s past associations (Saetia, You & I, Neil Perry), the sometimes fragmented songwriting and their engaging musical protests to deliver a near flawless 17-minute EP. Comparisons to At The Drive-In are currently being bandied about, but Hot Cross is more chaotic and adventurous. Eschewing metal riffs and anything resembling a breakdown, Hot Cross utilises duelling clean leads, screamed-sung vocals and melodic, slightly discordant noise to make innovative but still aggressive music. Hopefully the "farewell” in the title isn’t an omen and Hot Cross will continue to define the shape of aggressive music to come. (Level Plane)