If you've seen HildaMay's name floating round in the last couple of months, it's probably been shortly followed by the words 'Hot Water Music', and not just because they shared a stage with the Gainesville legends in August. Being truthful, the comparison is not entirely accurate, but fans of Chuck Ragan's mob will certainly find plenty to get their teeth into here; however, their appeal stretches far further than that. If gruff-voiced, emotive punk rock played with tremendous heart and melody sounds like your sort of thing, then treat yourself to a copy of 'We Loved, We Lost', because there's very few bands who could claim to be doing this as well as HildaMay currently are.
Kicking things off with 'Parachutes' sets the tone for the rest of the release well; there's a vaguely Alexisonfire-esque feel to the track, and its rollicking bassline compliments the barbed hooks of the song brilliantly. From here on in the band maintain the pace well, and over the course of the next 6 tracks proceed to treat the listener to a surprisingly rich and textured sound, none more so than on final track 'This House Became Our Home', which sounds truly heartfelt and has a chorus with serious radio appeal- definitely one to learn for next year's festival crowds.
If there's a criticism to be had, it's that a couple of tracks verge on being a bit repetitive. 'By Your Side' and 'We Loved, We Lost', the two slowest songs on the album, are structured almost exactly the same, and are a little too slow and dull to live up to the rest of the album's standards. Thankfully it's not a case of being stretched too far, merely a sign that their punchier material is what they do best, and there's no shortage of that on here; when they hit their stride- as they so often do on their debut- they sound completely unstoppable.
With so many good up-and-coming bands emerging from the UK scene on an almost daily basis, it's sometimes hard to keep track of all the promising young bands out there. It's therefore to Hildamay's credit that the flashes of brilliance contained within their debut allows them to stand head and shoulders above the competition, and if the high standard of 'We Loved, We Lost' is built upon, their next effort could be a true knockout blow to the competition. Definitely ones to watch for the future.