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"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Hot Hot Heat

MUSIC REVIEWS

Hot Hot Heat-Make Up the Breakdown (Sub Pop/Sire)

 

Okay, I know I always get on my high horse and complain when punk bands think it is a sell-out to attach a tune to their songs as if the fact that a listener can enjoy the melody takes away from the importance of what the band is saying. 

 

So, I have to give props when a band gets it right... thought provoking lyrics and music that can actually take up residency in the head.  Canadian band Hot Hot Heat recognize this need and Make Up the Breakdown is one of the rare punk albums you will listen to over and over just for pleasure. 

 

They do obviously wear their CBGBs influences on their sleeves, but I can think of worse things than reminding people of Elvis Costello, the Talking Heads and the Ramones. 

 

"Oh Goddamnit" couples truly funny lyrics with giddy pop-punk like the Offspring back in the Epitaph years.  "Naked In the City Again" has a Brit-pop brattiness.  "No, Not Now" is a joyous XTC-pastiche that will resonate in your brain for hours after hearing it.  "Talk To Me, Dance With Me" races an elastically simple tune (and what I believe are sound effects from the old video game Galaga) to an swirling perfection. 

 

"This Town" could be the Clash circa Sandinista, while "Get In or Get Out" feels like Elvis (Costello, not Presley) circa Armed Forces.  "Aveda" has a sweet organ line pumping life into a sugary sweet love shoutout. 

 

As rock's arbiters of taste wonder which way the genre is going, now that rap-rock is losing speed, they could do a hell of a lot worse than looking in the direction of Hot Hot Heat.  (4/03)

 

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 8, 2003.

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Copyright 2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 8, 2003.