It's a hard a fickle world, this music place. Two years ago, Hot Hot Heat were the toast of the town. Described by DiS when they were a barely known quirky guitar set as a band who "have all the potential to become someone's Favourite Band", they pretty much were for a time - the mighty drums of 'Bandages' quaked the floors of many an indie club well before 'Banquet' was a thought in the eye of the mind of The Angel Range. And then... well, so much happened, and so much of it was like Hot Hot Heat, with their off kilter quirky pop, head spinning keyboards and skewed infectious melodies. Sound like any band whose record you've bought in the last 18 months? Exactly. Quite _a lot of them...
So the task for HHH is to come back with an album that's as good as if not better than 'Make Up The Break Down'. Quite a task, given that 'MUTBD' was great. The band's reaction is 'Elevator', a taut, ultra compressed collection of 14 songs containing roughly 3 song's worth of ideas, melodies and hooks per track. That kind of works out at 42 songs in 40-odd minutes. Or something. It's as breathless as you would think.
Initally, it all rushes by so fast as to rock you onto your heels, but further listens offer a quick grasp of a set of insidiously catchy songs. Just like the first record in fact. Opener 'Running Out Of Time' sets the standard with an out of control see-saw feel to it, veering from manic to merely deranged. 'Goodnight Goodnight' deserves its position as lead off single, merging a killer chorus with a strung out verse that offers the option of dancing or merely gently rocking in the corner. 'You Owe Me An IOU' is fairground indie, all cheap construction, but with a devillish way of making itself instantly memorable. Potential radio-straddling hit 'Island of The Honest Man' is as straight ahead as it gets, all driving chorus' and FM guitars, while later on in the LP you have the dark-edged 'Dirty Mouth_' which is probably the most complex and gratifying song they've produced so far, but still a skewed-pop gem, naturally.
This indie skronk game is getting harder by each new band's release, competition is suitably cut throat and just watch those second rate bands start falling, faded t-shirt by faded t-shirt. Just don't bet against Hot Hot Heat surviving the cull. A veritable corker of a difficult second album.
8Gareth Dobson's Score