The Montreal scene in the early eighties was a different world from the artsy hotbed hailed a short time ago in glossy Spin articles and New York Times features as the new Williamsburg. Only a few venues existed where locals could perform original music, and the order of the day was not orchestral-rock or synth-pop. It was rock and roll, pure and simple, and groups with names like The Nils, The Asexuals, and The Doughboys made a small but influential post-punk racket.
The Hot Springs are one of a handful of Montreal bands that reference these hometown influences. On Volcano, they succeed in producing a gritty, guitar-surge sound with an emphasis on melody. While their work is not particularly innovative or novel (guitar-band-fatigue is becoming epidemic), it is not without appeal. The guitars on this album go through several manifestations, from the thick, creeping strokes on the sinister "Tiny Islands" to the poppy electric chord strumming on "38th Adventure" to the sparkle and shimmer on the lovely, lullaby-like "Fog And The Horn." Lead singer Giselle Webber lends a delightfully reedy and scratchy voice that would land somewhere between Marc Bolan's rasp and Bon Scott's howl, had they both been female. Rock and roll, pure and simple.