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Not Just Re-Heated

By: Marc Spitz

Rock stars lie. When you ask them about their new album, they lie a lot. They’ll say, “We had a vision for this new record.” You can’t really blame a band for not wanting to share their failings with the public (until they’ve achieved Metallica status, at least), but when they do, it makes an impression on our jaded asses. This is why we would purchase a used moped from Hot Hot Heat‘s Steve Bays, who restored our faith by readily admitting that when the Victoria, British Columbia-based quartet entered the studio to record the as-yet-untitled follow-up to their surprise 2002 indie hit Make Up the Breakdown, they had…zip. “After touring for 19 months straight, we didn’t really know what to do,” Bays admits. “So to get the ball rolling, we figured, ‘Let’s just write the same record, but do it way better.’ And it didn’t work at all. The songs just weren’t good. We ended up dropping everything we wrote in that period. It kind of hit us that we’re not the same band after 19 months on the road.” On the new one, Hot Hot Heat explore everything from unapologetic pop (“You Owe Me an IOU”) to U2-style arena anthems (“Jingle Jangle”) to quasi-R&B (“Shame on You”). Bays claims there’s only one song, “Counter-Clockwise,” that’s got the Cure-derived, poppy, post-post-punk sound that made them semi-famous. “This record is almost like our good-bye to dance punk,” Bays says. “To us, this one is drastically different.” Note: If this record sounds exactly the same as the last one, we’re going to beat up Hot Hot Heat.