Are you a fan of The Killers? Phoenix? Tokyo Police Club? The Strokes? If so, you’re probably a fan of Hot Hot Heat. Even if you’re unaware of the name, you’ve probably heard something from them over the past decade and a half. When they formed in the early 2000’s, there was a flood of music from the metal and grunge scene, Hot Hot Heat were one of the major players in bringing the alternative – a new wave of indie. Over the years their sound continued to grow but, like in life, all thing’s must end. Their final album, Hot Hot Heat, sees the Canadian band reverting back to the beginning of their career, drawing a strong influence from the period in which they first emerged.
On first listen you’re immediately swept up by the pop-hooks and dance-rock riffs. You find yourself foot tapping and head bobbing along to the rhythm of each track. The album feels like your teenage body melded with your present body, encapsulating a rhythm and style of music that was massively popular in the early 2000’s. It’s all combined with a more mature, experienced approach to song writing.
Hot Hot Heat’s upbeat vibe is incessant, using synth and bass riffs to keep each song moving with the mobility of their indie-rock heritage. The opening guitar and synth notes on ‘Kid Who Stays In The Picture’ play off each other with the kind of infectious rhythm that hooks you and refuses to let go. With lines like; “Some days were day dreams, some days were sunbeams, some days were nothing else” and “I remember when you used to laugh, back in the day we used to hang, like a deer in the headlights, I saw you give up the late nights”, it’s a track that captures an understanding of nostalgia with elegance. “I see the future with a modern mind” kicks off the track ‘Modern Mind’ and keeps the album moving, with ease. ‘Magnitude’ slows things down monetarily, allowing things to take a breath in the middle of a relentlessly upbeat record.
Starting with the line “The memory’s here, it won’t go away” album closer ‘The Memory’s Here’ is a poignant and perfect way to end Hot Hot Heat, while the lyric “The future of the world is not too good until you sing, so let me hear you sing” creates a full circle effect. An artist’s world is opened up with the support of its fans. The legacy of Hot Hot Heat will resonate with their members and listeners worldwide, and these lyrics gracefully show that sentiment.
Until the last, the band have recorded the album they wanted to make. If this is indeed the last album they’ll ever release, it’s a special effort, executing exactly what they’ve always sought to do; create lyrical depth in pop/dance songs. For a decade and a half, Hot Hot Heat spent long periods of time shining incredibly brightly, yet they always flew just under the radar. This album not only makes its mark, it’s a great way to put out the flame on an amazing career.
Hot Hot Heat is out on Friday, June 22nd via Kaw-Liga Records/Culvert.