Hot Hot Heat: Future Breeds

Hot Hot Heat: Future Breeds

In the early ’00s, Hot Hot Heat felt like the attention-deficient little brother to the New York garage-rock revivalists, spazzing out to XTC instead of sneering along with the Velvets, and whipping up angular, organ-aided jams that perfectly complemented Steve Bays’ petulant croon. After the awkward, gawky phase that produced the major-label entries Elevator and Happiness Ltd., Bays and company have returned to deliver on the promise of their Sub Pop debut, Make Up The Breakdown, with Future Breeds, an album dense with stuttering drums and just barely held together by vocals that skylark between nervy synths (“21@12”), or pair bitter wordplay with a saxophone solo borrowed from a street busker (“Zero Results”). “JFK’s LSD” rides a wave of adolescent energy and its shouted chorus of “Can’t get enough!” onto the dance floor—just in time for squirmy, bad-trip synthesizers to clear it again. On “What Is Rational?”, the band regresses a few more years, wringing all the melodrama it can from a Mega Man boss-battle theme that never was, before feinting at maturity by closing out the album with some stately blips and bleeps on “Nobody's Accusing You (Of Having A Good Time).” Even though it’s broken up by the occasional plodding piano number, Future Breeds can be a gauntlet of abrasive blasts of energy. Good thing, then, that it’s so satisfying to make it out the other side.

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