Every now and again there's a band that bring out a hit record that sounds a lot like whatever's trendy, thereby infuriating serious rock fans and delighting most people with their FM friendly fun. A couple of years ago, this band was Jet, whose single "Look What You've Done" shot up the charts like crack into an indie rock god's arm.
Well Hot Hot Heat are in a similar vein - they take the latest rock trends, set by bands like Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and The Libertines, and give them more mainstream appeal. Their crunchy, bouncy 3-4 minute tuneful songs, are spiced with wit. Steve Bays voice burns though the mix to the top like a sexy, sleepy electric guitar, and the tunes are memorable and catchy.
Singing along might turn out to be harder than it sounds, though. Simple as the melodies are, Bays is no Britney - his urgent crooning will outshine you on every verse. His voice may sound familiar and it is, because he's blessed with classic rock pipes that mix the timbres of Bowie, Steve Tyler, Jagger and other greats.
Hot Hot Heat are charmingly self aware, openly unkind, and as their ridiculous band name appears to indicate, quite funny. One of the gems in this collection of slick rock songs, "Goodnight goodnight," is a diatribe addressed to a troublesome ex who's showed up drunk at his door after leaving messages on his machine. "Jingle Jangle" says "Watch your children round me / Don't ask me to tell you if they slipped and fell". On "Shame on you" he sings "Running with scissors wasn't smart / I tripped and cut open your heart" and proceeds to apologetically rule out love as an option.
These guys aren't ever going to change the world. Clever as their lyrics are, they're about the usual stuff: chicks and how they are so unfair. These guys don't really understand women or like them much, but apparently they find them attractive. This confused them, so they wrote some great music about it.
Cool! Rock on! Whatever! Unlike Jet, these guys don't flip from style to borrowed style. Every track makes awesome beer music. Elevator is definitely worth adding to your rock CD collection. It's an album you'll have a jol listening to for years to come.
- Jean Barker
Other bands may get more obsessive fans, but Hot Hot Heat, the likable party band of the new New Wave, deserve at least a whiskey-soused hip shake.- Christian Hoard for Rolling Stone
Hot Hot Heat sound like they're playing scared and playing it safe, and in doing so fall through the cracks between their established fans and their imagined ones.- Rob Mitchum from Pitchfork Media
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