Album: Hot Hot Heat

Elevator, SIRE
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The Independent Culture

One fortuitous side-effect of the current British pop renaissance is that the unalloyed excellence of the likes of British Sea Power and Kaiser Chiefs throws into stark relief just how bereft of ideas - not to mention tunes - are transatlantic chancers like Canadian combo Hot Hot Heat. Sure, they may be able to effect a passable impression of the Chiefs' sprightly pop attitude on the goodbye-and-good-riddance number "Goodnight Goodnight", but it's the flimsiest of contrivances: there's no charm or engagement to its chippiness, and the chorus hook is woefully poor. Elsewhere, the lingering influence of overhyped and out-of-date Next Big Things such as The Vines and The Hives hangs around most of Elevator, which sounds expressly designed to capitalise on a retro-post-punk boom which never really materialised. It's not even a question of style and substance: there's more brass-neck bravado than style to their songs, and precious little substance worth mentioning. The most rewarding aspect is probably the lyrics, which include the occasional sharp conceit but which too often slip into pointless convolution, as in "Rolled a pair of dice in Paris that got me to paradise all safe and sound", the most irritating line of 2005. All told, not so much Hot Hot Heat as Tepid Tepid Lukewarm.