Review Summary: That fever rises back up from the deep...
11 years ago, horny teenagers across the world were - no different from how they are now - partying, boozing and sexing, to a song no other than Fever For The Flava
by Hot Action Cop. Alternatively, the kids who hadn't been invited to the party were wasting away their angst by playing Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 and jamming out to Goin' Down On It
These songs were infamous for their funk-metal energy and copulation-encouraging lyrics such as a chorus that rhymed "She got the power of the hootchie" with "I got the fever for the flavour of the cootchie" but instead of riding off their inital popularity, Hot Action Cop promptly disappeared.
is the band's second LP and their only other release since their 2003 debut, apart from the 2009 EP
. This EP was a vast change in sound, oozing a blistering, mature and absolutely brilliant alternative rock sound, which could only ignite a giddy excitement for this elusive, second, opus.
It may come as a shock then, that Listen Up! is actually a step backwards in sound. As soon as the irresistible funky bass-line kicks in on opener House of Pain, you'll feel the testosterone and naive feel-good attitude of your youth rise to the surface, the memories of driving down a country lane with all the lights off and your friend urinating out of the window flowing back from a place you thought you'd buried them.
This would definitely indicate that a lot of these songs have been banging around all the way since the band's heyday. The problem is that this makes for a mixed bag, with the fifth track Picture Me
changing to a more serious tone, a slow and gentle number of a bitter lost love, vocalist Rob Werthner hoping that "it hurts when you picture me." The atmosphere on this song is tightly constructed, with gentle synth-strings shimmering in the backdrop, but it frustratingly ends at little over 3-minutes long. This reflects the underdeveloped feel of the whole album - the total running length is only half an hour and none of the songs are longer than 5 minutes, which is a surprise considering how the band were not hesitant to let their tracks breathe on their first album, one of its greatest merits.
Sadly, this leaves nothing but a lust for more, especially when there are some hugely enjoyable moments here, such as long-standing guitarist Tim Flaherty's excellent riffage and the tight musicianship on Lights Out
which are strongly reminiscent the alt-rock sensibility of 2009's Baby Bottle
, except not as perfectly crafted. The old-school Hot Action Cop of Jen
and closer Pull The Trigger
also prove to be gleefully guilty pleasures.
Despite this, the fact that you're listening to the same band that was covering Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb
in their 2012 single will leave you hoping that this is the case of a transitional album, and that in the near
future (not 10 more years, when a zimmer frame just won't cut it when you're trying to make alternative funk), Hot Action Cop will make an album that can actually have them taken seriously, despite the half-naked ass on the front cover of their first.