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Hot Hot Heat - Make Up The Breakdown (Cover Artwork)

Hot Hot Heat

Hot Hot Heat: Make Up The BreakdownMake Up The Breakdown (2002)
Sub Pop Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Hot Hot Heat, as a phenomenon not as a band, should have realistically happened years ago. All the elements have been around since the early 80s, yet they seldom shine as brilliantly as they do here. "Make Up The Breakdown" is an album we would have heard many times before if only new wave did not d.
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Hot Hot Heat, as a phenomenon not as a band, should have realistically happened years ago. All the elements have been around since the early 80s, yet they seldom shine as brilliantly as they do here. "Make Up The Breakdown" is an album we would have heard many times before if only new wave did not degenerate into the self-mockery we make fun of the 80s for. There was a promise in early new wave: punk had just destroyed bloated album rock and from its ashes was supposedly endless freedom to make interesting music again. This was heard from Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Joe Jackson, The Cure, XTC and others from the era. It's the banner of these groups that Hot Hot Heat carries.

While it's inevitable that the rock revival movement has advanced a few years from its late 70s Television fixation, it would be an injustice to lump this album with simple revivalists. There's less stylistic posturing here and more of a focus on danceable rhythms and ridiculously catchy arrangements. Vocalist Steve Bays sounds like a joyful Robert Smith (not necessarily a contradiction, think "Lovecats" or "Wrong Number"). This combines with a Costello-like paranoia both vocally and lyrically. The jangely punk songs that make up this record are rife with keyboards and sped up Fugazi riffs, surprisingly effective combinations that the band pulls off effortlessly.

There's no denying the infectious force of "No, Not Now" or "Oh, Goddamnit." The single "Bandages" bounces with a ska-rhythm and swirling organ work. It also delivers the most complete moment on the album as the band kicks into a reggae bridge over which Bays nervously chants "Don't worry now `cuz its under control." The band lets their inner-Cure shine on the down-tempo piano driven "In Cairo." Hot Hot Heat gets away with song writing that simply wouldn't be believable from other groups. Repeated over cowbell percussion, the line "You are my only girl, but you're not my owner girl" shouldn't be as satisfyingly cool as it really is in "Talk To Me, Dance With Me."

Hot Hot Heat have that rare quality that can make cynical indie kids dance and get hardened punk rockers to move their feet in unfamiliar ways. The band just signed a fat Warner Bros deal and is getting a much-deserved push. World domination ensures, but don't wait till then to check this out.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
neffernin (June 6, 2007)

Bandages has to be the only song I skip on this album.... I dont know why but I've never liked that song. It turned me off from this band but once I heard the rest of the CD I fell in love

Anonymous (January 17, 2004)

classic...too short, but classic

-notaclevername

Anonymous (July 23, 2003)

Dance party

Anonymous (July 1, 2003)

idiots, should've stayed with subpop. tsk tsk...

Anonymous (June 22, 2003)

I love Maxeen. I think they are going to be huge. There sound is so fluid and clean.

Anonymous (May 17, 2003)

havent you read ben weasels punk rock dress code? there is a punk dress code, even if it was written in satire, i think he has good points. besides, where has punk gone? and no, hardcore is not punk.

evilmidget2 (March 27, 2003)

haha, the previous poster is my hero now

Anonymous (March 26, 2003)

I wear a tie.

I'm fucking punk rock, bitches.

Anonymous (March 24, 2003)

""punk has NOTHING to do with fashion!"

Now come on, even the Ramones would say that isn't true. Look at them, the New York Dolls, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and just about any old punk band and you'll see that fashion was a large part of their live performance."

SARCASM!

man, how fucking thick do i have to lay it on?

Anonymous (March 24, 2003)

There is a "punk fashion" but there is no requirement to wear certain cloths.

Anonymous (March 24, 2003)

"punk has NOTHING to do with fashion!"

Now come on, even the Ramones would say that isn't true. Look at them, the New York Dolls, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and just about any old punk band and you'll see that fashion was a large part of their live performance.

evilmidget2 (March 24, 2003)

haircuts are the shit. maybe if you werent bald you would be able to appreciate the satisfaction of having a good one. i have a crunk ass flat top; it's the shit.

Anonymous (March 24, 2003)

i loooooove fashion. i wear skintight black jeans.. tight tshirts.. i wear chuck taylors and sometimes creepers. i have a beat up leather jacket that i wear when its cold.. im 21 and people still call me a fashion punk..like i give a fuck.

waste_elite (March 24, 2003)

"Why the fuck do haircuts matter to you kids? For god sakes you're supposed to be punks!"

you're right! for a second there i thought that fashion and music had something in common. i mean let's be real, punk has NOTHING to do with fashion!

FasterInFall (March 24, 2003)

this band is overrated and bad.

Anonymous (March 23, 2003)

what happend to Wuss Emo? Did he die from a broken heart or something, i thought this would be the kind of thing he'd eat with a spoon.. where's that bitches comment.

Anonymous (March 23, 2003)

Why the fuck do haircuts matter to you kids? For god sakes you're supposed to be punks! Thats probably one of the most vain arguments I've read on here.

And who cares if the media has decided to pay attention to bands like this, it dosent mean you cant enjoy their music... unless you're just trying to be cool be being "anti-trend"... then by all means the vanity argument applies to you too.

Icapped2pac (March 23, 2003)

This strikes me as a bunch of trendy alt-rock shit. And not just regualr shit, shit with a bad wig made of stray clippings from a barbershop floor.

Also, while we're on the topic of shit, Grand Rapids, MI fucking rots like dirty diapers in the trunk of a hot car in july in the parking lot of the gerald r. ford museum. I grew up there but expatriated to the D to escape the long-reaching fist of the religious right. The music scene there is next to dead too, because nobody fucking supports good music. They'd all rather read bibles and expose everyone else's sins. Thank you for all being my counselors as I vent about my youth (how emo am I? hang on, I gotta cry)

waste_elite (March 23, 2003)

indie rock kids need new fucking hair cuts, every single one of em has the same thurston moore mop cut.

I'M TIRED OF SEEING IT!

Anonymous (March 22, 2003)

this cd fucking rules. too bad the guitar player is such a cocky fuck face.

Anonymous (March 22, 2003)

"This sucks... I downloaded three songs by these guys and boy I can see the trend coming..."

hate to break it to you, but the trend came a long time ago
i'm suprised it's not fucking over yet

Anonymous (March 22, 2003)

man mars volta are soo gonna kill these bitches

Anonymous (March 22, 2003)

This sucks... I downloaded three songs by these guys and boy I can see the trend coming...

Anonymous (March 22, 2003)

My current guilty pleasure CD.

Anonymous (March 22, 2003)

Oh wow more guys with shag hair cuts

gay

Anonymous (March 22, 2003)

This band scores a 3 in my books. I like them, but they're not as good as The Faint. Since this thing was released on the mighty Sub Pop, I'll add a 1/2 star.

plowro (March 22, 2003)

Grand Rapids? My Friend Paul lives there. For now......

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

the guy 2 posts below me likes the exclamation point wayyy too much..

and to Anthony: that had to have sucked...I saw them in Grand Rapids, MI and they played 8 of 10 off Make Up.. and 4 of 5 off Knock Knock Knock along with 3 new songs...

Amazing band. Hands down.

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

For once I found something on here I agree with. Go fuck yourselves. twat

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

Most! Overrated! Band! Since! The! Strokes!

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

High quality music here. I swear I could never pick a favorite song off this CD, all 10 are quality songs. Guys voice is fun to try to sing along with too.

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

An OK band that has been hyped up to be far more than they are. It's fun, but it's not THAT cool.

FortyMinutesWest (March 21, 2003)

Gotta love those unkempt locks!

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

hah i love you punk rock kids

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

This CD is a bunch of sh*t! It is not punk at all.

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

This is album is just a lot of fun. My first impression was a rather upbeat Strokes, but soon after I realized they were much more original. They definitely sound different on their first few 7" releases, which can be experienced in full CD glory on 'Scenes One through Thirteen', with a different lead singer and a great key presence.

I recently saw these guys live at the Bottleneck, and would have posted a review for it, if they would have toured with someone, instead of just grabbing 2 local acts for the show. Anyway, they play with lots of energy, and these guys are great musicians. They introduced themselves as having a dance based sound to them, but wierd enough they didn't do much dancing around as much as moving around. The lead singer kept dedicating the songs to the people who were dancing, which was kind of funny since i honestly did not see anyone dancing, more rocking out then anything else. Not to put down their set or anything, which was heavily from their great ep Knock Knock Knock, but a little dissapointing when they only played 3 out of the 10 songs from Make Up the Breakdown.

Ok, well everyone should at least give it a chance and download some mp3s.

-anthony

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

Worst, most annoying band, EVER.

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

I saw this band live and they annoyed the crap out of me. The singer's voice is really irritating. And I hate "quirky" and "clever" bands. Insanely overhyped, nothing special at all.

thefirstfive (March 21, 2003)

Thats cool scott, i was just wondering.

maverick (March 21, 2003)

To thefirstfive:

There's currently 27 reviews waiting in the queue. Yours is fairly new to said queue. Every review before yours has seniority. Wait your turn.

-Scott

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

These guys rock!

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

Get the Knock, Knock, Knock ep. The 5 songs on that album are better then anything on this one.

thefirstfive (March 21, 2003)

Dammit this was the next thing i was going to review. Its a great album though, its weird to listen to if you've heard their early 7in's b/c they used to be all Keyboard-Hardcore.
Also whatever happend to my Calibretto Review? Did it not cut the mustard?

jheisel (March 21, 2003)

assuming that the band is pictured on the cover here, they have funny haircuts. but they're canadian, so what do you expect?

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

Third!

Anonymous (March 21, 2003)

This band is all about the date rape drug. Don't let them buy you a drink.

maverick (March 21, 2003)

I've not really heard much of this album, but I do remember Pitchfork calling it "emo."

That makes me laugh.

-Scott

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