Hot Hot Heat, ‘Happiness LTD.’ (Sire)
Release Date: November 20, 2018
Hot Hot Heat are so good at their game — twitchy, verse-chorus-verse power pop — that even the band’s best bits can seem pro forma. On Happiness LTD., they admirably mess with success, loading up their spastic, skinny-tie ditties with epic heft. Brooding intensity (à la Arcade Fire) powers the title track and “Waiting for Nothing,” while arena-ready riffing lights up “Outta Heart” and “So So Cold.” Frontman Steve Bays’ friendly, rubber-soul warble means solemn melodrama is out of reach, but that’s excellent news: The idea of a neo-new-wave Coldplay is too much to comprehend.