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Volume 68, Issue 46, Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Arts & Entertainment

Hot Hot Heat's witty lyrics ignite latest CD

By Johnny Patrick
The Daily Cougar

Canada's Hot Hot Heat is currently touring to plug its newest achievement, a five-song EP. Knock Knock Knock, released by Sub Pop, a veteran indie label famed for helping Nirvana get its start by releasing Bleach, reaffirms once again that Canada is consistent in its spawning of great bands.

The EP kicks off with a smart track entitled "Le Le Low," which is drenched in ironies and accusations.

My favorite line of the song is just one of many that stands out: "Fashion is feeding us our defecation."

Hot Hot Heat's Paul Rawley (left), Dustin Hawthorne, Dante De Caro and Steve Bays come out blazing in their latest effort, Knock Knock Knock.
Brian Tamborello/Sub Pop Records

Heat, which consists of Paul Hawley (drums), Dustin Hawthorne (bass), Dante DeCaro (guitar) and Steve Bays (vox and keys), is not afraid to offer such negative quips to its listeners. 

But the band does not hesitate to provide personal experience and feelings, conveyed by lyrics like "Sentiment has got me feeling low."

In addition to intelligent lyrics, the listener's ears are blessed with a pseudo-disco feel that can only be compared to the Clash's legendary "Sandinista!" 

Not only is the beat reminiscent of this, but the additional sounds provided by less common instruments hint toward a different vision than what most bands of today dwell on.

The second song, "5 Times Out of 100," immediately reminded me of the Tubes with its subtle Latin feel. The song's bridge, however, contains a piano part that seems directly derived from Pleasure Forever (formerly known as Slaves) with a less dramatic vocal approach.

"Have a Good Sleep," on the other hand, seems to attempt a Robert Smith-influenced vocal style carried by a flamboyant musical prance. 

The song also contains some midi implementation, though I am not familiar enough with that category of instruments to distinguish whether it is a Moog or additional keyboards.

"Touch You Touch You" begins with a march-and-clap beat reminiscent of "The Wall" and then proceeds to turn into what could easily be mistaken for a U2 song.

But some parts of the song contain a voice modulation effect seemingly borrowed from The Faint, as well as certain phaser implementations.

The EP's closer, "More for Show," threw me for a loop because it sounds like Tiger Army, but with a clean guitar channel accented by reverb and tremolo. The song's percussion section and use of tambourine and maracas is my favorite part of the release.

All in all, Hot Hot Heat's music on this new work lives up to its name, proving that a sexy attitude and catchy songwriting can bind an eclectic array of influences.

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