Hot Hot Heat

These twitchy, tuneful Canadians have taken so long to follow up Make Up the Breakdown, the excellent album Sub Pop released in 2002 (and Reprise reissued the next year), that skeptics have begun wondering if there's still enough interest in the new dance-rock to support Elevator, Hot Hot Heat's third album. So consider it a happy confluence of artistic vision and business savvy that on Elevator, HHH doesn't actually sound terribly interested in late-'70s post-punk or obscure New York indie-funk. Crackling tunes like "You Owe Me an IOU," "Goodnight Goodnight" and "Ladies and Gentlemen" are straight-ahead organ-fueled power-pop gems informed by good Elvis Costello records, Parklife-era Blur and not a little of the all-access joie de vivre that made Smash Mouth such a welcome post-grunge delight. It's anyone's guess if Elevator will take the band beyond the disapproving hipsters who probably won't have them anyway, but Hot Hot Heat deserves a ride to the top.
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Mikael Wood