Putting together album number five has to be an interesting task for a young band that scored some success early on with a single song, but never garnered a wealth of mainstream attention. Innovation and creativity are necessary, but the band can’t swing too far away from the sound they cultivated over four other albums. With “Future Breeds,” indie Canadian rockers Hot Hot Heat find themselves in this query.
The band garnered much attention for their song “Bandages,” back in the day when Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand were at the top of alt-rock charts. With their latest, they have done well to adapt to the times adding some mild electronic flourishes, and honing in their “Bandages” sound producing quirky, edgy dance-pop. It took some time in the middle to get back to this sound, but the band is now producing energy-driven tunes that are still relevant and hooky.
While still relevant, “Future Breeds” is still a little lackluster overall. It’s like they spent so much time tuning into this sound that once a track list formed, no one noticed that all the songs sonically sound very similar. Not taking away that it’s a heap of bright, catchy songs; it’s just a little grating after about halfway into the disc. Starter “YVR,” has an instantly likable robotic dance appeal that lures you in, and follower “21@12” keeps you listening with its zippy, witty lyrics about midnight on the always-infamous 21st birthday. By the time you get down to track, “JFK’s LSD,” the listening nerves start to wear thin, and you get the track confusion syndrome, as your deciphering powers are slighted by strong similarities.
“Future Breeds” is packed with perfect songs to pluck for a party mix or work just fine in the shuffle mode on your iPod. Yet, as a whole listening experience, for all the energy Hot Hot Heat has, they almost become exasperating and mediocre. Its seems like they found a sound that works for them, but if they spice it up for album number six, they might just have something too hot, hot.
Words: Lori Bartlett
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Hot Hot Heat Tour Dates:
06/23: Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
06/24: San Francisco, CA @ Popscene!
06/30: Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
Walter Burciaga is a great writer and really undertands music! Very talented addition to the Grimy Goods crew. Thank you Walter!