Hot Hot Heat
Make Up The Breakdown CD - Sub Pop

The Hottest of all Heats whetted the taste buds of Cure-craving obsessives and garage-rockers alike with the fantastic Knock Knock Knock EP, and with new full-length Make Up The Breakdown, the retro dance party is on again. ¶ Tucked to the brim with dapper, funtastic synthesizers whistling in and out of every track, Breakdown flaunts another dapper vocal performance by hiccup-y squeal merchant Steve Bays, as well as quasi ska rhythms that bob like old Specials break beats and dip dangerously like a homemade half-pipe. Not by any means derivative, instantly recognizable touchtones will nevertheless leave many listeners playing Name That Sequence. When Bays wails, “Walking so slowly, don’t know anybody, feels like I’m in Cairo,” one can’t help but conjure images of the Clash’s Casbah. Amazingly, the entire package coalesces without sounding tacky, no matter how funhouse-quirky the instrumentation gets. ¶ The lyrics? Hell, they’re about girls, of course, and Hot Hot Heat’s members have obviously dealt with some amazingly catty shrews in their day. One sanity-debilitating damsel “says she’s got it all,” but can’t stop yearning for the attention of boys who don’t even notice her; another lass goads Bays into crooning, “You are my only girl, but you’re not my owner girl,” over just-too-rich cowbell thumps. Despite a traditionally vexed, jaded view of females, every arrangement is aloof and cheery as a neon-green pair of spandex shorts, and the mighty triple H hearken back to an era when neon-green spandex shorts might have seemed damn necessary. ¶ With two first-rate releases in tow, Hot Hot Heat may just be the zestiest spice on Sub Pop’s ever-expanding rack. (Grant Purdum)



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