Elevator

Studio Album by released in 2005

Elevator review

Beginning as a noisy, synth-based combo in 1999, Victoria, British Colombia's Hot Hot Heat evolved into an aggressively catchy indie-rock band two years later, when keyboardist Steve Bays took on the vocal duties and guitarist Dante DeCaro joined their ranks. The group's new lineup – which also featured founding members drummer Paul Hawley and bassist Dustin Hawthorne – brought a newfound sense of melody and witty wordplay to their music, which they debuted on their 2002 EP Knock Knock Knock. The EP paved the way for the full-length Make Up the Breakdown, which arrived in the fall of that year. After touring for most of 2003, Hot Hot Heat spent the following year recording; that fall, DeCaro left the group. However, his work appeared on the resulting album Elevator, which was released in spring 2005. Produced by Dave Sardy (Dandy Warhols, Jet, Oasis), Elevator drops the synths in favor of Hammond organs, clanging retro guitars and an inevitable 80's sound. Virtually every track on the CD is short and sweet with plenty of energetic, poppy goodness.

The opening two tracks (after the atmospheric instrumental introduction) provide one of the strongest openings to an album this year. Running Out Of Time is a raucous monolith of a first track. It's rich in explosive beats and, if you like disco punk, so infectious you'll find yourself jumping about your living room. Goodnight Goodnight is another cracker with arty high staccato riffs, multi-tempo pounding drums and a vocal melody reminiscent of a very steep rollarcoaster ride - fluid and fast yet it crunches the stomach. Mid-album however the tracks sound like they're cut from the same cloth, both chord and composition-wise. It's your bog standard euphoric choruses with some variations in keyboard sounds but otherwise it all sounds fairly similar. But what they lack in diversity they more than make up for in catchy melodies and pure unadulterated passion for the songs. The album is sealed off nicely with Elevator. Using a lift as a metaphor for an up-down relationship, Hot Hot Heat infuse the song with a fluid anthemic chorus.

With Elevator, Hot Hot Heat is on its way to the top with an album that, keeping with superstition, purposefully has no 13th track. If The Killers make you remember how great 80's music could be, then Hot Hot Heat here shows you how great and totally fun it could be as well. Elevator has the zing of classic pop – and its sureness too. If you liked Hot Hot Heat's Knock Knock Knock EP for it's catchy melodies, and breakthrough album Make Up The Breakdown for its abrasive yet feel-good nature, then you'll love this third album by the Canadian quartet. However a progression is apparent: where the EP was darker and punkier and the debut was fairly raw, Elevator is more slick and shiny. But this is fairly subtle - it's still the same pounding retro-punk with hefty hooks, jerky guitars, breakneck time changes and killer keyboards. What makes Hot Hot Heat so cute is that it's punk dressed in pop clothing – it has the heart of rebelliousness but with the mind of radio-friendly melodies and easy-on-the-ear compositions.