Release Date: June 24th, 2016
Label: Culvert Music
Self-titled Hot Hot Heat is the band’s last release, and they set out to have fun.
This album provides an upbeat, easy listen while still being creative. Short songs keep it moving. Only “Magnitude” (track 5) hits the five-minute mark, the rest are around three minutes or less.
You can’t miss the ‘80s glam-rock flourishes. “Kid Who Stays in the Picture” opens the show with loud, fuzzy guitars that would sound right at home played in a big arena by dudes in neon headbands. “Modern Mind” feels almost like a present-day retelling of David Bowie’s “Changes.” Backing singers repeat the phrase “I feel the future of the modern mind” while the narrator seeing rampant opportunism around him, advises you to “take what you think you’re gonna need and throw the rest away.” It’s a poignant reflection, theatrically delivered.
A couple tracks later, “Bobby Joan Sex Tape” opens with a cleaner, contemporary pop sound. It’s catchy, and surprisingly sentimental for its title—a light-hearted reflection on moving from small towns to big cities in search of work.
The rest of the record continues in a flashy, power-pop style, with more sonic nods to the ‘80s. In “Sad Sad Situation,” the warped, space-age sounding riff climbing up and down the verses is almost too much, but nothing else sounds forced. The second half is more aggressive and experimental, but with short songs, you don’t get lost or dragged down. “The Memory’s Here” closes the album by building up some noise and chaos, but finishes with clean, catchy guitar licks.
Though I wouldn’t expect to hear these songs on pop radio, if you spin (or stream) this album a couple times, you’ll tap your feet and sing along. Enjoy.