Slightly biased. The only words I can think of when giving a review I’m about to give to Hot Mulligan’s debut full-length Pilot.

I first found Hot Mulligan through a few dates I went on in the summer of 2016. The band had nearly just began thriving in the Michigan area, and the girl I was seeing worked at a Flint music venue. They introduced me. Fast forward to September of 2016, Hot Mulligan began releasing singles to their Opportunities EP. The first was “Something About A Bunch of Dead Dogs.” Soon after, I was hooked. Now after countless listens, multiple live sets, and a trip to Columbus and Chicago later, here I am reviewing an album by a band I’m about to see nearly seven times on their upcoming two spring tours. Let’s just say I’m impressed.

Hot Mulligan’s strongest suit is the vocal duo of Tades Sandville and Chris Freeman. Those harmonies are seen a lot here, and are used more effectively than we’ve seen on previous Hot Mulligan albums. A lot of risks pop up on Pilot as well, including the poppy little number near the end, “How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?” The track is a rap-like emo outtake from the very depths of Hot Mulligan’s artillery.

Many of these songs had to grow on me, surprisingly. The first singles “All You Wanted By Michelle Branch” and “…Missing A Slam Dunk” were instant hits, but the only other song on the record I sang from first listen was “I Hate The Gooey Disk” which nearly saw me jump out the window on the way home yesterday screaming “if that’s what you want, then I guess I want it too.”

The song nicknamed “Pluto” sees a shaky Hot Mulligan in the most vulnerable state we’ve ever seen them. The last line in the first verse is “blue as a newborn’s lips, ‘cause on the day I was born I was horrified to take a breath.” This is where I first realized that the lyrics in these Hot Mulligan songs feel real. The emotion feels so raw, you hang on every word, something I thought Hot Mulligan lacked previously, though their lyrics are very much the opposite of emotionless.

There are few errors on Hot Mulligan’s debut full-length. In ways, you can say their music has only become less universal, but it’s still debatable. There are instant earworms on these tracks, but some of them (like “*whispers* thank you” isn’t one of them). For a full record, it’s pretty damn good. It’s riskier, and improves upon the majority of Hot Mulligan’s qualities. If you’re sleeping on Hot Mulligan, you need to stop and wake up.