Hot Hot Heat
“Happiness Ltd.”

Hot Hot Heat – the not-so-gentlemanly lads from Victoria most famous for the radio-quick song “Bandages” – stumbles back onto the scene this year. Unfortunately, its latest release on Warner Records, Happiness Ltd, seems limited in destination and purpose at every turn.

In the titular opener, frontman Steve Bays nasally belts out with an electrified nervous energy and an off-kilter timbre, promising to make any audience bounce. After the album’s midpoint (the solidly composed and richly layered “Outta Heart”), Bays’s barrage of baying wears away at the listener’s soul.

The album’s saving grace is a remnant of the self-effacing wit, which brought “Bandages” to the forefront. In “Outta Heart,” Bay comments, “Effortless compliments wrapped up in useless advice / A battle of war with an army of mice.”

Still, the army seems to be squealing in chorus to the album as it bleeds together. Not even “Give Up,” with some experimental click-clacking and up-tempo staccato electric guitar, can escape the repetition of stock whine-lyrics: “Give Up / Give Up / Give Up.” In the end, Happiness folds under, proving potential and energy can’t substitute a deaf spirit.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.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