After an ill-advised foray into pop on their 2007 release, Happiness Ltd., Canada’s Hot Hot Heat have returned to the hard-edged, dance-punk sound that they made them a sensation in 2003 with Make Up the Breakdown, and its single, “Bandages.”
Future Breeds is full of hard edge riffs and rhythms. It literally revs up on the opening cut, “YVR,” in which lead singer Steve Bays intones, “Let’s live a lie together.” Their first single, “21@ 12” (about what to do at midnight of your 21st birthday), includes all the pop goodness of Squeeze in their heyday, but with more of an edge.
From there they maintain their frantic energy (most notably on the manic “Implosionatic”), offering up everything from a garage sound (“Goddess on the Prarie”), to a sort of futuristic Franz Ferdinand (“What Is Rational?”). “JFK’s LSD” does not live up to (and indeed seems to have nothing to do with) it’s promising title, but it has a cool space age intro and the incessant refrain “Can’t get enough.” You’ll find yourself singing it hours later.
But the biggest — and best — surprise on here is “Buzinezz as Usual,” which has a rollicking carnival sound, and focuses on the kind of seedy folks that Nick Cave covers so well. Hot Hot Heat built their own studio and played around with a variety of sounds in making Future Breeds. “Buzinezz” demonstrates that. Future Breeds is chock full of great party music, but its the depth and variations on it that make this CD, and this band, so interesting.