Hot Hot Heat: Future Breeds
Without intending to do so, Hot Hot Heat has made a great case for keeping talent away from the influence of major label recording executives. After the success of 2002’s “Make Up the Breakdown,” of course the offers came flying in (God forbid a major record company take a chance on something not already tested). The result was two albums that failed to generate much excitement. In 2010 the band not only went Indie again, but also took on the production tasks. Fans can breathe a big sigh of relief, because “Future Breeds” sounds like the band we knew and loved almost a decade ago.
This is not to say there hasn’t been any growth. The raw quality of “Make Up the Breakdown” is basically gone, and the studio is utilized to full capacity. They have also learned some new stylistic devices. What has returned is the energy and sense of urgency. Hot Hot Heat has mastered fuzzy, quirky, hook laden alt-rock. When inspired there is no rival.
Most of the press I have seen claims that “Future Breeds,” while good, is still not up to par with “Make Up the Breakdown. I disagree. We always tend to cast past favorites in an almost holy light. This is different, that’s all. And as much as I love the predecessor, it wasn’t perfect. The same is true this time out. In both cases the music gets a bit repetitive after a while, but who cares? The hooks won’t let you turn it off. The band is growing, but still holds on to what made them work in the first place.
The music is well-crafted, intelligent, humorous, fun and contains just enough darkness to satisfy artsy types. The tempos keep your head bobbing, and the melodies are the kind of pop worthy of the Lennon/McCartney seal of approval. The depth of the sound has also been increased. Even on more stripped down tracks the mix has been turned way up. Other times it is the additional instrumentation and layering that create the “wall” of sound. The overall compositional skills have improved as well. Perhaps eventually they may provide an entire album with a coherent concept. Not this time though. “Future Breeds” is really nothing more than a collection of songs.
Hot Hot Heat is back in business. I am surprised I didn’t hear more about this album. Everyone was raving about Arcade Fire and My Chemical Romance. “The Suburbs” bored me, and “Danger Days” doesn’t even come close. Sure, My Chemical Romance has some good inventive tunes, but the rest sound like lame ditties penned for the soundtrack of “The O.C.” Hot Hot Heat stays true to form from beginning to end, which is what makes “Future Breeds” such a successful venture. Good to have you back guys!
Steve Bays – keyboards, vocals
Paul Hawley – drums
Luke Paquin – guitar
Parker Bossley – bass