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Hot Hot Heat stays lukewarm

Becca Saunders | Thursday, April 21, 2005

Although “Elevator” is its second album, few people have probably heard of the Canadian four-piece band Hot Hot Heat. Yet “Elevator” has garnered the attention of MTV and is slowly becoming a part of the contemporary music scene. While Hot Hot Heat shows promise as a great band, in comparison to similar bands like Jet, The Hives, Razorlight and Keane, Hot Hot Heat does not measure up. “Elevator” is a good album with solid songs, but it is generally a level below its competitors. “Elevator” is the follow-up to 2002’s “Make Up the Breakdown,” Hot Hot Heat’s first major album. The Vancouver, Canada-based band is a basic four-piece rock band, with Steve Bays on vocals and keyboards, Paul Hawley on drums, Dustin Hawthorne on bass and Luke Paquin on guitar. The band is excited about its latest album and according to its Web site, frontman Steve Bays explains that, “We figured there were two ways to record a second album. You can do more or less what you did before, which works for some bands. Or, you can experiment, grow and change, which is the approach we took. What we discovered in the process was that, while we were taking huge steps forward musically, we were also coming full circle back to the style and sound that had brought us together in the first place. What we ended up with was a heightened version of what we’ve been doing from the beginning.” That statement holds true to the record that was produced by Hot Hot Heat, and although “Elevator” is an improvement from its first album, it is still not enough to catapult the band into the same level as its rock contemporaries. That is not to say that there are not great songs on “Elevator.” There are a handful of highlights and there is not really a bad song on the entire album. “Middle of Nowhere” is one of the best songs on the album and is also the second single Hot Hot Heat is releasing off of “Elevator.” The song shows the skill Hot Hot Heat has for developing a catchy melody and memorable lyrics. As many of the songs on the album are, “Middle of Nowhere” is about a girl and the confusion that lies in the singer’s relationship with her. The girl chimes in with advice multiple times throughout the song. At one point, “She said, ‘Unpredictability’s my responsibility, baby,'” and at another, “She said, ‘Maybe there is a bit of me waiting for a bit of you, baby.'” All in all, her lyrics are cleverly added to the song and make the song lyrically strong as well as melodically strong. Some other great tracks on the album include “Goodnight Goodnight,” “Jingle Jangle” and “You Owe Me An IOU.” All in all, “Elevator” is a quality album by a solid and creative band, but it does not rise above other bands in its genre. Hot Hot Heat is a good band, but as of now it has not proven itself as a group that deserves attention over its rock peers who are simply doing a better job at making great rock music.