Album Review
Hot Hot Heat - Elevator Album Cover

Hot Hot Heat - Elevator

Reviewed by
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Hot Hot Heat- Elevator
{SCORE: 8/10}

1. Introduction
2. Running Out of Time
3. Goodnight Goodnight
4. Ladies and Gentlemen
5. You Owe me an IOU
6. No Jokes - Fact
7. Jingle Jangle
8. Pickin’ It Up
9. Island of the Honest Man
10. Middle of Nowhere
11. Dirty Mouth
12. Soldier in a Box
13. Interlude
14. Shame on You
15. Elevator

Any doubts and any misconceptions you had about Hot Hot Heat’s latest effort will be disintegrated within mere seconds of the first track. After an introduction of eerie “elevator music” the opener “Running Out of Time” wastes not a moment before swallowing you into a loud and almost theatric opening riff. WARNING: If you dare to listen beyond this point, you will be forced to sway your head and groove your body in ways you never thought possible. The verse is about as punchy as could be and the grand scale chorus will hit you in the chest. Go ahead, turn it up, it sounds better loud.

Thus begins the wonderfully crafted Elevator, an excellent masterpiece moving up and down among floors of danceable indie rock. Hot Hot Heat have become absolutely proficient in welding together crunchy tonalities and guitar riffs, pounding drums, rhythmic bass lines, sugar sweet keyboards, and silky smooth vocals in producing a composition that is sonically aesthetic in every way. The melodies here are so catchy in fact, that it almost feels as if you know the tunes as you are hearing them. And if the impact is not that immediate, then it is only a matter of one listen before all the songs earn familiarity. Earlier I used the word “theatric”, because at some points of Elevator the pop buildups and breakdowns are so rich and affecting that it does truly feel like a showstopping number from a musical.

Steve Bays’ voice could not be more perfect for his band’s music. Comparable to that of Head Automatica’s Daryl Palumbo in its wavering texture and flexibility, Bays is able to exert a range of sentiment and drive while working almost as another instrument, guiding the music to its fullest potential. At times his voice is somewhat reminiscent of Joe Reo from Hidden In Plain View (see the word “gasoline” in the first verse of “Running Out of Time.”), and the record’s sound also had me thinking of Audio Karate.

Songs like “You Owe Me an IOU,” “Island of the Honest Man,” and “Pickin’ it Up,” flaunt vocal trails that seem like they could be derived from camp anthems, jump rope sing alongs, or maybe a 70's pop hit while other numbers like “Jingle Jangle,” “Middle of Nowhere,” and “Elevator,” show off a more moody and dramatically nostalgic disposition. When Bays’ vocals, flooding with hostility, glide over the floating, and equally tense acoustic guitar in “Dirty Mouth”, one can clearly hear the artistic range of Hot Hot Heat. There is something seductive about the cocky attitude present as the lyrics forbode, “Wash your dirty mouth/Your dirty mouth/Watch your little mouth.” It draws you in; you can feel the sheer cynicism and cutting wit as he later adds, “Cause you taste like you’re already gone.” Those looking for the same Salsa-esque flavored thrill present in songs like Gatsby’s American Dream’s “A Mind of Metal and Wheels” or The Mars Volta’s “L’via L’viaquez” will surely appreciate “Shame on You,” a bonafide Latin spiced dance hit.

Totally, Elevator has something for every facet of a listener’s perspective, it will please the senses and move the body. Due to its extremely catchy and candy-coated nature, it might not be an album that you want to listen to as often as possible, but utilized in reasonable increments of time, Elevator hardly sacrifices any of its irresistible charm. Only being vaguely familiar with Hot Hot Heat’s previous material, Elevator has inspired me to become a fan. The band did not shoot for the stars on this release, most of the songs remain relatively safe and don’t stretch the boundaries by an reasonable standard, but they have created a good record nonethelss. Tons of fun, absolutely addicting, and seriously satisfying this is the most pleasant Elevator ride you will ever experience (complete with an absent 13th track). Gooooing up!
Displaying posts 1 - 5 of 5
10:09 AM on 02/17/06
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Rueful.Dreams's Avatar
I absolutely love this Cd. Its actually broken now so i have to buy another one. Everyone own it.
09:06 PM on 03/03/06
all you want to be is in a dream
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Vicky82's Avatar
I Loved this Album in the summer....but it grew old fast. It all sounds the same after awhile
09:35 PM on 12/03/06
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Regardless, it is still a great album. Not to mention great lyrics and piano.

"Pickin' it up, then I put it back down"
10:08 PM on 07/13/08
Slave 2 tha booty
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bummm's Avatar
I think it was alright.

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