Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Mar 13th 2010 5:25PM by Jonathan Dekel
Arriving onstage just past their scheduled midnight start, Steve Bays and band-mates were greeted with a thunderous ovation by the sweat-drenched audience who seemed eager to hear what the band have been up to since the critical and commercial failure of 2007's 'Happiness LTD' left them without a label and looking for a new direction.
The most obvious change has been in the personnel department, with bassist Parker Bossley replacing Dustin Hawthorne, leaving only Bays and drummer Paul Hawley as original members. Consequently, this version of Hot Hot Heat is an entirely new proposition from the one whose infectious punk-edged pop songs and BBC-baiting singles put them in strong contention to be breakout stars in the early aughts.
Conscientious of this, the group played six new tracks from their upcoming fourth album, 'Future Breeds,' the highlight of which was 'JFK's LSD.' As for the others, the chugging title-track was passable while Bays squealed off-key during the energetic 'Times a Thousand.'
Bossley's heavy-handed playing didn't help the group's cause. On previous efforts, Hawthorne's groovy understated hooks grounded Bays' punk tendencies and forced the singer to confront his natural melodic inclinations, leading to alarmingly poppy material delivered under the guise of indie rock. By contrast, Bossley regularly overdrove his tone, causing his simplistic bass lines to overpower the songwriting. The result is that the new material, while retaining the enthusiasm of classic Hot Hot Heat, lacks much of its melodic appeal.
Luckily for the band, their back catalogue is lousy with anthemic crowd pleasers like 'Middle of Nowhere' and set-closer 'Bandages' that, when unleashed, were lapped up by the fervent audience.