Hot Hot Heat

Hot Hot Heat

Knock Knock Knock EP

Sub Pop

The term “EP” paradoxically stands for “Extended Play.” I say paradoxically because by my definition, an EP is generally between 4-7 songs and/or 10-25 minutes — why anyone would call the shortened format “extended” is beyond me. It’s an artform with its own strengths and weaknesses, but I find greater practical pleasure in discovering a Perfect EP than I do in a solid album or a spectacular single.

Case in point: Hot Hot Heat’s Knock Knock Knock EP. Every track on here (there are five) has its unique sound. Yet every one properly represents the band’s talents — they are obviously coming from the same group of artists. Unlike a Perfect Single, you get to see more than one facet of the band’s full potential. Unlike a Perfect Album, there are not so many tracks that it becomes easy to rank some as superior to others. And since you’ll quickly get sick of listening to a single, and an album’s greater length provides for some time for the songs to refresh themselves, the Perfect EP hast to distinguish itself by being strong enough to withstand repeated listening, over and over again.

Which is exactly what I’ve been doing with this. Hot Hot Heat takes a decidedly rock approach to their music, using guitar, bass and drums — and a fantastically adept piano/organ — to fully flesh out their songs. Bristling with hooks and oddly contorted arrangements, the band makes use of implacable bass grooves to complement the inventive drumming, and snarling guitars reminiscent of The Police and The Clash to complement tormented vocals worthy of The Cure’s Robert Smith. But before you get the idea that this is a retro act, the band has clearly modern influences… Brainiac’s high-energy jolt comes to mind.

Mind you, these comparisons come in flashes, a lick here, a measure there, as Hot Hot Heat are clearly blazing their own musical trail. Songs like “Le Le Low” and “5 Times Out of 100” feel like being punched in the head by a weeping boxer, powerful, raging and sad. “Have a Good Sleep” has a wandering melody that cleverly leads in to a reggae-like chorus. “Touch You Touch Me” is a soaring cathedral of sound, with edgy guitars and a pounding piano riff, that could easily have come from the Chameleons UK in their heyday. The closing “More For Show” has the band at its Cure-iest, with upbeat verses leading to a bittersweet chorus, sparkling guitars, and wistful vocals.

To properly put this in context, I would have to loop back and start describing “Le Le Low” again, and run down the five tracks a good twenty or hundred times. But I’ll let that be an exercise for you, the listener at home.

Sub Pop: http://www.subpop.com/ &bulleg; Hot Hot Heat: http://www.hothotheat.com/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

  • Soul Understated
    Soul Understated

    Soul Understated was a swizzle stick of jazz, funk, pop with a dash of Radiohead in the delightful DC cocktail.

  • Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu
    Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu

    That Trip We Took With Dad is the debut feature by acclaimed Romanian short film director Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu. Generoso Fierro sat down with Lǎzǎrescu during SEEFest to discuss the comedy and drama within the adaptation of her deeply personal family story for the screen.

  • Aware
    Aware

    The Book Of Wind (Glacial Movements). Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • BANG: The Bert Berns Story
    BANG: The Bert Berns Story

    The music biz collides with the mob in this documentary chronicling the fast and dangerous life of legendary ’60s songwriter, producer, record mogul, Bert Berns.

  • The Suicide Commandos
    The Suicide Commandos

    Time Bomb (Twin/Tone). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tricot
    Tricot

    3 (Topshelf Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Bush
    Bush

    One of the most successful rock bands of the ’90s attracted thousands of fans to its recent Orlando concert. Christopher Long was there.

  • New Found Glory
    New Found Glory

    New Found Glory celebrate 20 years of Pop Punk with a string of sold-out intimate dates at The Social. Jen Cray was there for night two.

From the Archives