Record Review 

Let's put it this way: better new wave revivalists than a rap-metal band these days.

Hot Hot Heat's second album, Elevator, arrives as part of the latest flood of NME-anointed spiky post-punkers pushing across these shores. Influenced by Gang of Four, XTC, and the Jam, the Canadian quartet delivers a satisfying follow-up to its 2002 breakthrough, Make Up the Breakdown. The band's nervy, dance-punk rhythms give way to a slightly poppier aesthetic, but the new album largely works similar territory: slinky, off-kilter rhythms under perky, keyboard-driven pop.

While satisfying, Elevator isn't always memorable. Many songs skate by without making any impression, but with 15 tracks packed into 40 minutes, it's perhaps unavoidable. When they nail it - as on the irrepressible "You Owe Me an IOU" - they expertly meld the power pop buzz of Possum Dixon with the skittering post-punk of Franz Ferdinand. Singer/keyboardist Steve Bays' wounded croon sounds suspiciously like Kevin Rowland (Dexys Midnight Runners), especially on the bustling, jangly "Middle of Nowhere." There's at least a half-dozen catchy tracks, but the album's a tad nondescript as whole. Maybe it's the growing prevalence of the sound or Elevator's failure to markedly expand the band's parameters.


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