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Hot Hot Heat - Future Breeds Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 8.25
Production 9.25
Creativity 9.5
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 89%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.75
Musicianship 7.33
Lyrics 7.67
Production 8.5
Creativity 7.58
Lasting Value 6
Reviewer Tilt 8
Average: 74%
Inside AP.net

Hot Hot Heat - Future Breeds

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (06/17/10)
Hot Hot Heat - Future Breeds
Record Label: Dangerbird
Release Date: June 8, 2010

In the earlier years of the 2000s, it was easy to get swept up in the hype of post-punk revivalism. Who could blame anyone for being completely enthralled by the exciting debuts from The Strokes, Bloc Party, The Futureheads and Hot Hot Heat? It's unfortunate that in the years since, the trend's popularity has spawned countless cheap knockoffs from bands seeking to cash in on the craze. The style's initial purveyors are even guilty themselves of repackaging their sound to be more palatable for widespread consumption, and in the process, losing much of the palpable energy that made the music so much fun to begin with.

Of the aforementioned bunch, Hot Hot Heat are probably the most egregious offenders, their major label foray having led them down a conspicuously polished path toward radio-ready "alternative" rock, whatever that is. Of course, the move backfired, as most fans and critics couldn't really get behind the new music, particularly their last album, Happiness LTD, and the songs just weren't attention-grabbing enough to latch on with a new audience. Their inevitable failure has brought them back to the indie-label fold, and if Future Breeds is any indication, Hot Hot Heat are more than comfortable in their new home.

Anyone expecting more of the pleasing guitar lines, gentle synth accents and jingling bells of "Let Me In" will be jarred out of their seats immediately by the album's opener "YVR". It's still based heavily in synth and guitar, but the delightfully sharp edges of Make Up the Breakdown are back, but more importantly, the band don't sound bored with making music anymore. Looking back at these retro-styled albums, the best have been characterized by that youthful fervor that seems to stem from the unbridled joy of making music, and after a few missteps, Hot Hot Heat have recaptured that love for being a rock band.

Even when slowing things down with "21@12", the band show they still know their way around an easy mid-tempo hook, but they've gussied it up with the off-kilter rhythms and sirenlike keyboard swirls that have been all but absent in their recent work. With "Times a Thousand", they bring aboard clanging Gang of Four-like guitars, and a combination of sing-speak vocals and jagged cadence that's reminiscent of The Fall. The galloping "Goddess on the Prairie" sounds like a streamlined take on David Bowie's proto-punk glam, and unlike much of the music that might get tagged as such, it actually feels worthy of the comparison. If nothing else, Future Breeds is varied, and as a lesson in the music of punk and post-punk pioneers, it's pretty comprehensive.

Even when the music is on the slower and stripped-down side, as on "Zero Results", it doesn't cause the album to lose any steam. It's exhilarating when Steve Bays and his band are all giddy and act as though they have so much to say and precious little time to get it all out (like they do on "JFK's LSD", for example), but there's an sense of authenticity to the album's less strident moments that demands even closer listening.

I admittedly was a little skeptical about what new music from Hot Hot Heat would be like. I expected more inoffensive New Wave-ish stuff that's likable but lacking any real excitement. However, the band are in fact back in top form, showing the pretenders how it's done and throwing their detractors for a loop. There's a legitimate electricity behind Future Breeds that the genre sorely needs. On the title track, Bays sings, "I won't come back crawling again," and he's not kidding. Hot Hot Heat have resumed the trailblazing they began almost a decade ago, and it's great to have them back.

RIYLHot Hot Heat's Make Up the Breakdown
Thunderbirds Are Now!'s Make History
Gang of Four's Entertainment!


Track Listing1. YVR (2:11)
2. 21@12 (3:39)
3. Times a Thousand (3:14)
4. Implosionatic (2:32)
5. Goddess on the Prairie (3:18)
6. Zero Results (3:35)
7. FUture Breeds (4:23)
8. JFK's LSD (3:34)
9. Jedidiah (2:41)
10. Buzinezz az Uzual (4:16)
11. What Is Rational? (3:09)
12. Nobody's Accusing You (Of Having a Good Time) (4:00)


Preview/Buy the album at Amazon MP3.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 25
07:42 PM on 06/17/10
#2
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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This album seems very clattered to me. Almost like they're knocking you over the head with 51523523523 different instruments. And really for me it all just leads to one big migraine. My favorite songs are "20@12," and "Jedidiah," though that's probably no surprise. But then again, I'm very much a less-is-more kinda guy, so maybe this wasn't the album for me. That being said, Bays chases down some really heady lyrical territory and that in and of itself is worth boatloads of merit.
09:09 PM on 06/17/10
#3
Jeremy Aaron
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This album seems very clattered to me. Almost like they're knocking you over the head with 51523523523 different instruments. And really for me it all just leads to one big migraine. My favorite songs are "20@12," and "Jedidiah," though that's probably no surprise. But then again, I'm very much a less-is-more kinda guy, so maybe this wasn't the album for me. That being said, Bays chases down some really heady lyrical territory and that in and of itself is worth boatloads of merit.

That's enough instruments to make Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' heads spin... I just have a very soft spot for the angularity of those early post-punk bands, and I think this channels that well, probably even better than Makeup the Breakdown did. I found it refreshing that they gave up trying to get soccer moms on board with their music and just let it all hang out.

There's definitely stuff that's abrasively off-putting to me, too. I listened to that Crystal Castles album that's getting all the buzz the other day, and I think my ears are still ringing. But the chaos that Hot Hot Heat bring here feels just right.
09:49 PM on 06/17/10
#4
S9Dallasoz
Knows the words to 'Bye Bye Bye'
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This one is gonna need to grow on me.
05:50 AM on 06/18/10
#5
ThisIsNotDan
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I, for one, loved Elevator. it's a great pop record with a more refined sound from their first album. that's why it was really disappointing to see them come out with an album full of sad mopey crap and I sorta lost interest in them. that being said I dig this album. it's really catchy but it sounds like they took a shitload of drugs. "21 @ 12" and "Future Breeds" are such jams
05:52 AM on 06/18/10
#6
PaperRival-Jake
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I love the gang of four rec that you gave. very true.
05:55 AM on 06/18/10
#7
Meeze
PunkOut.org
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It has been almost 10 years of me trying to ignore the existence of HHH. Jeremy, you have convinced me to give them a shot.
05:56 AM on 06/18/10
#8
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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I, for one, loved Elevator. it's a great pop record with a more refined sound from their first album. that's why it was really disappointing to see them come out with an album full of sad mopey crap and I sorta lost interest in them. that being said I dig this album. it's really catchy but it sounds like they took a shitload of drugs. "21 @ 12" and "Future Breeds" are such jams
I agree. It sounds VERY drug-induced.
07:28 AM on 06/18/10
#9
geebee889
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I've been waiting for a review to check this one out, and I have been convinced to give it a listen. Thank goodness they're back on an indie label.
08:07 AM on 06/18/10
Mattylikesfilms
If You Dig Up The Dead...
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I've been waiting for a review to check this one out, and I have been convinced to give it a listen. Thank goodness they're back on an indie label.

Its a really solid album. Give it a try for sure!
08:09 AM on 06/18/10
owiseone35
You need human heat
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Its a good album, but the instruments I feel are so freaking loud it gets quite irritating.
08:12 AM on 06/18/10
geebee889
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Its a really solid album. Give it a try for sure!
Sweet, will do!
08:55 AM on 06/18/10
Sherrice
http://twitter.com/sherrice
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Consider this purchased.
09:18 AM on 06/18/10
gspinn
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i can't help but think this has moments of sounding like DRMANHATTAN's Jam Dreams....
09:32 AM on 06/18/10
HometownHero
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This is quite good.
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