Review Summary: Despite containing one of the most fantastic singles in recent years, the album is fairly dull as a full piece of work. Whilst not a disaster, the good tracks are not frequent enough for the album to realise it's potential.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
In 2002, Hot Hot Heat emerged from the ever expanding Canadian Indie scene, taking advantage of a sound which seemed to be exploding across the UK and America. This particular period was one which saw the popularisation of indie-rock, and saw albums from The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Vines and Yeah Yeah Yeahs receive a fantastic reception. The new millennium seemed to have signalled the death of the 90’s pop era, and being in a band or playing guitar was very much the zeitgeist. So, given the time of it’s release, Hot Hot Heat’s Make Up The Breakdown
couldn’t have been given a better chance, arriving in the explosion of the modern indie scene, but before it had reached saturation.
To focus more on the bands sound, standout features include the at-times-fantastic-yet-at-times-whiney voice of Steve Bays, some great choppy guitar parts, and rather peculiar yet striking keyboard sections. It’s not a particularly innovative sound, yet at the same time I’m struggling to think of a band which they are directly derivative of. What sets them apart more than anything else, is the pure danceability and catchiness captured by some
of the tracks.
And yes, at some
points during this album, Hot Hot Heat do deliver on the expectations they had built from leading single Bandages
. Unfortunately though, as great as these moments might be, the album lack consistency. In short, this is what is so frustrating about Hot Hot Heat. Whilst the singles have always promised so much, for every great song there are 2 more average, or even annoying tracks which follow. Take the opening track (Naked In The City Again
) as an example. Whilst it certainly shows potential, it comes off as an unfinished, or at most B-side material, after never really reaching the climax suggested from the beginning. And this can be said of a number of other tracks, that although might contain an interesting melody or two, lack the cutting edge to make them sound complete.
Despite how frustrating it can be following Hot Hot Heat, I find it very difficult to completely write-off a band capable of writing Bandages
. Whilst the appeal of this track has not always been recognised by everyone, for me, this is one of the best pop singles of the decade. Listening to this one track seems to make the rest of the album make sense. It’s like they wrote this song, and then spent months of jamming to try and re-create it’s brilliance, but only really came close on a few occasions. And so, this whole album can basically be summed up in relation to Bandages
; One song which was absolutely nailed, a few more great pop songs, and the rest is forgettable, or just plain annoying.
Overall Rating - 3/5