It’s hard to jump away from the initial reactions of “pop-punk.” There’s a lot of stereotypes that need to be let go and a lot that need to be understood, especially in such a broad genre. Hospital Job has stuck true to the genre throughout its few years of existence around the Midwest punk scene, and the band’s work on their third LP Never Get Cold is no different.
Lyrically, the record leans towards the stereotypes that would be better off being forgotten and becomes too cliché to the genre it’s so strongly holding onto. There always comes that point with pop-punk bands where a sense of reverse ageism naturally starts to question what you’re listening to. “Is this dude really still talking about high school?” It’s a fair response when these artists are so far removed from the young age they’re whining about. And depending on the age of the one listening, whining is all it truly becomes.
But the thing about Hospital Job is that the positive weight from the melodies and songwriting is enough to balance out the negative weight produced in thematic content. While you groan at the lyrics, there’s no way you can just turn off the record in the middle of tracks like “Hey Hey” where the melody trumps any itch to click “skip.”. Frontman Luke McNeill’s ability to create some of the catchiest and exciting harmonies in pop-punk has carried Hospital Job and it’s where the band is truly at its best. It’s this ability to write melodies that seemingly inspires the way Tim Reynold’s (who also plays guitar in Hospital Job) approaches the songwriting behind Horrible Things.
Stream the record via For the Love of Punk:
The catchiness begins to wear off in the mid-stretch of Never Get Cold, though. “First Place in Competitive Gravedigging” and “Anchor” are easily forgettable, but the tracks around it like “Hopper Scene” and “Libertine” live up to every expectation spawned by the album’s strong opening.
In the end, Never Get Cold starts strong and ends strong (the closing track “Snowing Sand” even begins to sound like a punk-muddied Beach Boys track for a few seconds), but the importance of having an established interest in the band heading into listening to this release is key. For first-timers, the record will likely fall short in giving you any further interest in checking out the rest of the band’s previous albums, but for those on their heels for another Hospital Job release are getting exactly what they expected, and probably hoped for.