By: Carlye Wisel
While 2002's Make Up The Breakdown established Hot Hot Heat's sound as the musical lovechild of The Killers and Wham! and 2005's Elevator tipped the balance to be a bit more Flowers and a little less Michael, Happiness LTD. (Reprise/WEA) is a disappointing departure from both.
Drifting from the cheerily upbeat, peppy pop of their previous releases, the Canadian quartet's tunes no longer encourage you to awkwardly shake your shoulders to near-embarrassingly fun songs like "Bandages" and "Talk To Me, Dance With Me." Now, the album's eleven mindlessly repetitive, immaturely written tracks seem to exude that the band's sole purpose is to be remixed, repackaged and replayed through the speakers at Abercrombie & Fitch. And while there's an abundance of poorly written songs by pop-rock genre hyphenated, boringly dressed bands whose emotionless expressions stare at you from the covers of magazines lining checkout counters, Hot Hot Heat never belonged among those ranks until now.
Unequivocally less exciting and uplifting than their past material, Happiness LTD. becomes more and more predictable as the songs progress. "Harmonicas and Tambourines" is standard enough to be written by a snooze-worthy college band, "Good Day To Die" is pathetically self-deprecating, and "So, So Cold" is as lame as the title lends itself to believe. The title track is just plain noisy, with Steve Bays (vocals, keyboards) shouting, "It's over now" over and over again. It becomes easy to hope he's telling the truth with said phrase, as the entire album seems to follow the same pattern: a decent verse followed by an obnoxiously unvaried chorus that will drive you crazy by the time three or four boringly torturous minutes have passed.
JamBase | Coolsville
Go See Live Music!