Hot Hot Heat

SXSW Records

Phases and Stages

Hot Hot Heat

Make Up the Breakdown (Sub Pop) Names like the Cure and XTC and even Led Zeppelin have been thrown around in attempts to define Hot Hot Heat's nostalgic pop-punk sound, but all of them are decidedly wrong. The answer, friends, dwells in the dustiest parts of your music collection, likely in the cassettes you haven't bothered to replace with CDs. Someone had to pick up where Oingo Boingo left off when Danny Elfman decided to grow old and rich composing film scores. The difference, though, is that this quartet from Victoria, British Columbia, doesn't take itself nearly as seriously as those crusty old New Wavers did; Make Up the Breakdown, the group's second album, is pure roll-down-the-windows-and-crank-up-the-stereo fun. The only slightly problematic element present is the decidedly misogynistic bent of many of the songs. "Naked in the City Again" paints an unflattering portrait of a young urban woman desperate for male attention, while "Talk to Me, Dance With Me" is every reluctant boyfriend's anthem, with the hooky, "You are my only girl, but you're not my owner, girl." Ouch. The best song, "Bandages," is rife with dangerous drums and good-natured keyboards straight outta the Eighties, while Steve Bays belts out, "I'll be pokin' a voodoo doll that you do not know I made of you -- for you. Let's see what needles do." It's enough to piss ya off if you weren't laughing so hard. (Red Eyed Fly, Saturday, March 15, midnight)

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