Recently, bands have been taking risks and releasing albums that stray from their usual musical style. Sometimes it works (The Killers’ “Sam’s Town”), but at other times it really doesn’t (Bloc Party’s “A Weekend in the City”). Either way, it tends to upset die-hard fans, leaving them asking questions like “Where’s the synth?” or “How come the chorus isn’t as catchy as it used to be?”
For Hot Hot Heat, the band is primarily known for their poppy dance anthems such as “Bandages” and “Goodnight Goodnight.” On their recent release “Happiness Ltd.,” the Canadian quartet doesn’t shy away from the pop, but grows into a darker sound that suits them. On tracks like “Outta Heart,” singer Steve Bays is impressive and puts his emotions into his writing, crying out, “I’m outta my soul/I’m out in the dark/I’m outta my mind.”
Older fans of their poppy songs need not worry. Tracks like “Harmonicas & Tambourines” should provide enough fast tempo rhythm and synth to please. “Waiting for Nothing,” the last track on the album, can definitely be classified as an arena rock anthem. Their first single, “Let Me In,” should also go over well with fans and give them a taste as to what to expect on “Happiness Ltd.”
There will certainly be comparisons to The Killers, as Hot Hot Heat’s musical transition seems to be patterned after the boys from Vegas. Although Hot Hot Heat is stepping away from the indie music scene, things sound pretty good so far, and this album will push them into the mainstream.