Hot Hot Heat: Happiness Ltd.

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Hot Hot Heat: Happiness Ltd.

Traversing a career path similar to The Killers, Hot Hot Heat has morphed from a taut, naggingly catchy post-punk out?t into an epic-sounding modern rock band. New album Happiness ?nds HHH’s sound tipping even further away from wiry guitars and skittering drums toward a widescreen mix of keyboards, layered fretwork and sweeping strings (see “Let Me In,” the grandest of the many grandiose tracks). But where Killers head honcho Brandon Flowers strained for mythical import, Hot Hot Heat’s Steve Bays keeps things on a nicely human level with basic boy/girl lyrics delivered in an elastic croon. Nearly every song has at least a small hook or riff to hang on to, but Happiness ultimately falls victim to a faintly generic feel. There’s nothing we haven’t heard before, so reserve the album for background music rather than close listening, and it shouldn’t disappoint.

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