Hot Hot Heat

Make Up the Breakdown
/sub pop; 2002/

rating : 8.5



more info:

I had funny dreams last night. I dreamt that my mother was trying to wake me up with old super-8 movies, projecting them right into my room's wall. I dreamt that I kissed my highschool crush in front of his girlfriend and then acting like a bitch about it. I dreamt that my band rehearsed in a huge place, that Angus Anderson's guitar sound sounded good and that my guitar amp got stolen while I was playing. I dreamt that I went from this place to the center of town by going through walls and secret doors. I dreamt that I found a Liars button on the floor. I dreamt that I stole cds, not meaning to steal them, from my favourite record shop. I dreamt that my dad's girlfriend lent me a Fall cd, telling me how good the Fall are. 
I wish I had kissed my highschool crush. Where are you Kevin ??

Great party albums : Pulp's Different Class, Blur's Parklife, JSBX's Acme and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Great party albums wannabees : Radio 4's Gotham!, Michael Jackson's Dangerous and anything by UB40

When I first listened to Hot Hot Heat's Make Up the Breakdown I was like : "great, another hip disco funk band with one good song." Actually, they're just disco, some songs are reminiscent of 90s brit pop hits such as Pulp's Disco 2000 or Blur's Girls and Boys. And it feels nice, I mean, they don't try to sound like artists like the Liars and they have better songs than Radio 4. The album is ten songs / 31 minutes long. And the band succeeds in keeping the quality high. SEB WOOd noticed that the singer's voice sounded like Hawksley Workman's. Well, it kinda does. It's diva-like but never annoying. He sings disco/pop songs with an ecstatic voice. His enthusiasm is easily shared. There are a few parts in the songs that I would call "scandalous" : the keyboards bridge in Get In or Get Out, the 80ish keyboards in No, Not Now, the reggae bridges in Bandages and This Town, the cowbell and whistle in Talk to Me, Dance with Me. Strangely enough, these parts didn't disturb me that much. It's part of the charm: a pop song has to be a bit scandalous to be good.   

The album title sums up pretty well the band's music and the global feelings coming out of the album. The best disco songs are the sad ones. Take I Will Survive. Even though it's become the new French anthem, the song's intricate sadness is what makes it so good. I can't listen to it anymore either, but you get my point: Hot Hot Heat's songs are drunk smiles on sad faces.

No, Not Now is a killer song with a killer chorus. Nooooobody likes a child who complains/and I won't be that child anymoooooooore. Now that I started praising one song I should go along and praise the other ones, but really, the whole album is worth getting. The final chorus in Get in or Get out makes me feel like dancing dancing dancing. Let's dance. I love the way Oh, Goddamit starts. The chorus is not as good as the previous songs' but the bass part kicks ass. Aveda sounds great, almost old fashioned, probably because it reminds me of a Madonna song from the Dick Tracy soundtrack (I used to be a riot grrrrrrl) Hold me dooown/ aveda/ hold me down/ It feels alriiight. The final part is unbelievable. This Town is probably the weakest track on the album, and it's not that bad really. Talk with Me Dance with Me sound like a David Bowie outtake from his shamelessly commercial, cocaine-powdered Let's Dance era. You are my only girl/ but you're not my owner girl. Save Us, S.O.S. is the final groover in this great album, coming right before the dark closer In Cairo. Save Us, S.O.S. is very probably the best song on the album, a final outburst of talent and booty-shaking. You got to saaaaaaaaaaaaave us S.O.S. There's even a great dramatic bridge, before the drums break and the final chorus. In Cairo is not like the other ones. It's quiet, dark, and not really danceable. It closes the album in a great way and ends in a gorgeous way. With this song Hot Hot Heat show us that they're more than a great disco band. They're a great band. I'm planning on playing this album as much as my friends will let me for New Year's Eve. I'll try to have fun before I pass out. 

-Barbara H

/dec 15th 2002/