It's been some time now, and the Hives, the Vines and others of their ilk have to be growing stale in the ears of the powers-that-be at MTV2 by now. Something must fill that gap. Enter Hot Hot Heat (in current terms: a more optimistic Clinic, replete with keyboard-y backbone and succinctness) and its cadre of new wave-aping cohorts. Their synthed-up staccato panache lends a more driving, catchy brand of new wave than, say, the gloomy electro flavorings of Ladytron, and though it's ultimately a little frustrating that the band fails to foster any true diversity in its sound, its first album, Make Up With the Breakdown, is almost too short--and full of potential singles--to actually notice. Much of the mixing was done by Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla, and Hot Hot Heat has a studied tightness very similar to that of Walla's band. On "Oh, Goddamnit," the disc's purest rush of pop to the head, their odd lyrics and predilection for jittery "Come on Eileen" rhythms merge most successfully, as singer Steve Bays lends his overdramatic quaver to intoxicating streams of words: "Antioxidants have got me causing accidents because my wine is spiked with pomegranate." Indeed.
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