Very few bands consistently create the type of music that makes you want to get up and dance. Even fewer bands have that same kind of “dancey” rock sound while singing about subjects other than going out on a Friday night. Yet, with their latest album, “Happiness LTD” (Reprise) this is exactly what Hot Hot Heat achieves.
The foursome’s bouncing melodies are in direct contrast with the powerful, witty lyrics that seem to have become the trademark of their albums. While Hot Hot Heat has kept its essence the same, they have expanded and experimented with their sound. It has become much more “mature,” though that’s a word that Hot Hot Heat’s guitarist, Luke Paquin, hates to use.
In an interview with The Hatchet, Paquin said that the band is “just trying to expand musically,” and that they are “trying to do things (they’ve) never done before.”
“We’re out to impress each other when we write music. We’re not out to prove anything to the world,” Paquin said. While this may be true, the world has taken notice. “Happiness LTD” has been lauded as a better record than even their previous album, “Elevator.”
The new album title comes from the line “happiness is limited, but misery has no end,” in the album’s title track. Though the title and many of the songs sound pessimistic, Paquin said, “we’re still just a fun rock band.”
The album, which is said to chronicle the journey from bliss to despair and back again, is still Hot Hot Heat, according to Paquin. “Some people might say the new album is a bit heavier, but we’re still pretty much dancey rock.”
In “Happiness LTD,” each song has a different mood. This may partially be due to the fact that Hot Hot Heat co-produced the album with the help of Butch Walker (of Marvelous 3), Tim Palmer (who produced U2, David Bowie, and the Cure) and Rob Cavallo (who has worked with Green Day and My Chemical Romance). With so many different influences, it is easy to see how string sections, falsetto vocals, and tricks like using four drum sets made it into the album. However, while this may seem chaotic, it is not. The ensuing album is full of infectious charm.
Two years after their “Elevator” tour, “Happiness LTD” has finally come out to critical acclaim. “In the end it was a good thing,” Paquin said. “We ended up writing three more songs that were three of the best ones.”
While Hot Hot Heat may play many of their new songs live, they like to mix up their set list with older tunes as well. “We actually change the arrangements to a lot of the older songs just to keep them fresh,” he said. “Having a set list can be. pretty boring. It might help to keep things organized.(but) we try to switch it up as much as we can. We make sure we don’t open with the same exact song we did last time, because people are paying to see us.”