First you throw it on, blasé, one ear on the stereo and the other on the evening news reporting the dramatic conclusion of the Michael Jackson trial. After all, who expects anything from Elevator, Hot Hot Heat's second album? The band blew its load with Make Up the Breakdown, a record that catapulted these Canucks to indie mega-stardom. It was obvious why: Guitarist Dante Decaro (recently replaced by the able-fingered Luke Paquin) melded post-punk jitters and pop lushness like Andy Partridge possessing Elvis Costello, and frontman Steve Bays yelped and pounded the keys in fits of bratty flamboyance. As you drift off, though, Elevator starts to rise in the background. Fuck, it's actually good. No, better than good: It's everything its predecessor was and more, a whirling collage of angles, anger, melody and sheer elation. And as you gaze at the TV screen and all the Jacko supporters triumphantly moonwalking outside the courthouse, you imagine they're not dancing to Beat It at all, but the smart, spasmodic thump of Hot Hot Heat.
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