Record Review - 2 October 23 2002

With album sales careening toward a 10 percent drop this year and DJ culture still the fad that never was, the music press has been batting around a rock revival like a puppy with a chew toy. This re-jiggering of classic New York punk is more a hipster’s antidote to rap rock than any musical eureka. But if there is an opportunistic whiff to the movement, at least the recycling has been competent thus far.

The Pattern — perhaps because they’ve played with bands like the Hives and the Mooney Suzuki — often get lumped into the same trendy pack. But if they’re salvaging anything from the garage, it’s coming from ’60s mods the Creation, the Move and the rest of those Nuggets-era arty-facts. Infusing all that with a dose of Bay-area punk energy and kicking out snotty vocals to match, Real Feelness threatens to start a movement all its own.

Canada’s Hot Hot Heat, on the other hand, picked up a strong buzz for its tendency to sound like the Cure on last year’s Knock Knock Knock EP. True, singer Steve Bays has a pretty convincing Robert Smith vocal inflection, but the band’s debut has more in common with the street pop of the Strokes (“Oh Goddamnit,” “Save Us S.O.S.”) than some new wave retread. Their full-length Sub Pop debut, Make Up the Breakdown, is Elvis Costello and the Attractions with synths, pithy singing and an offhanded nod to a good dance beat.

The Pattern and Hot Hot Heat prove that every generation draws differently from the same influences — and that even the confines of a trend allow for something distinct to emerge. Certainly, there’s nothing more satisfying than discovering your new favorite thing has been around a lot longer than you have.

The Pattern and Hot Hot Heat play The Earl Sat., Oct. 26.??