Hot Hot Heat’s latest album, Elevator, isn’t going down as the best indie rock album in history, that’s for sure. But sometimes the things that aren’t included in the large book of best album history also happen to be the most-well, enjoyable. Elevator is just that, a pleasing sound to the ears brought to you by the new new-wave Canadian indie-punkers. This isn’t to say that the best music can’t be enjoyable, because it often is. However, that is about as far as it goes. Elevator, birthed on Sire Records (no longer attached to Sub Pop), is the kind of music where you absentmindedly go, “Hmm, I kinda like this” and then forget all about the next day. Or the kind of music you hear in the background and vaguely recognize, but the kind of music where you won’t wrack your brain for hours, waiting for a song title to come. It’s just kind of there, sitting in its own existence, all “La la la we’re Hot Hot Heat but we don’t really care all that much so just listen and if you like it that’s nice, I guess.”
Well, it’s a good thing I like enjoyable. Along the lines of that description include the spazzy sparkly crack burst of “Island of the Honest Man,” a song that really could have been the entire album. It’s a perfect example of Hot Hot Heat’s previous greatness with all the creativity and ingenuity that we would expect of them. “Goodnight Goodnight” swallows itself whole in a cacophony of drums and Steve Bays’ howls, strong and utterly uncontrolled. Not to be forgotten, “Jingle Jangle” does just that and jangles its way into my black, critical heart. Sigh! And “You Owe Me an I.O.U.” proves to be good, as well, but most of the tracks lack the energy and gusto that we’re used to.
All in all, even though it isn’t quite the stroke of smart and catchy that was Make Up the Breakdown, it’s impossible to not enjoy it, even if you are sitting there wondering when Hot Hot Heat will come back with a slightly better offering.