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Hot Hot Heat “Make Up The Breakdown”

Hot Hot Heat
Make Up The Breakdown
Sub Pop

Hot Hot Heat is known as Canada’s uncool punk band. Soon it’ll be known as America’s crappy Canadian band. Or at least that’s the impression put forth by its newest album, Make Up The Breakdown. Still, many loyal emo followers will love this new album.

Make Up The Breakdown is nominated for the Golden Toque Award (Best Canadian Album). As an added bonus along with the band’s recognition, lead singer Steve Bays is nominated for the “Throw Away Your Underwear” award (Sexiest Canadian Male).

Almost all the songs on this album contain Bays’ whining. And in the songs in which this screeching doesn’t occur, Bays performs an interesting and impressive yodeling-while-trying-to-cough-up-a-hair-ball technique.

In the song “Save Us S.O.S.” Bays sings, “Why can’t we be creative.” Well, maybe that’s because the band has a disgruntled and annoying singer who can’t come up with any decent lyrics. Some of the songs end abruptly, which is a relief and might be the most positive aspect of this album. Another plus is the actual music, which almost makes up for the torturous singing.

This new age/alt/emo band cries out with musical originality. HHH combines `60s mod rock, `70s prog and `80s new wave/punk to form its unique instrumentalism.

The guitar, bass, keyboard and drums all contain distinct styles, but the singing remains annoying and spoils all the fun. The guitar rhythm played by Dante DeCaros is a combination of intricate and edgy distortion tied around a jittery flow of happy chords. The bass blends well with the rest of the music without losing its significance, while the sounds from the Hammond Organ jump out and scream ska.

HHH claims to be influenced by the melodies of The Cure, the blues-based rhythms of Zeppelin and even some XTC for good, progressive-y measure. The band sounds a little influenced by ecstasy. Originality is what keeps this band alive, for better or for worse.

Contact Lukasz Sokolewiczat