As Neo learned it, we all learned it. Déjà vu is a glitch in the Matrix. For years many of us shamelessly borrowed the line to seem cool, but who were we fooling?
That sense of “we’ve been here” exists in healthy doses within the latest from San Francisco trio(Adam Abildgaard, Nick Duffy, and Ted Davis) Hot Flash Heat Wave release Sportswear; however, if you can pinpoint just where “here” is, you’re better than I.
Hot Flash Heat Wave’s debut album Neapolitan (2015) set the stage. The heavy-weighted Soaked (2017) revealed direction, yet the evolution of Hot Flash Heat Wave has found them in a slightly new direction, one of a digitized dreamscape of vintage pop sounds sifted through synth, backlit by technicolor dance grooves, soaring effortlessly on an airy eleven tracks, far enough from their origins in 2015 to immediately grab attention.
Hot Flash Heat Wave’s latest, Sportswear, is like three friends stumbled upon a dusty 100-CD case in the basement filled with new wave, post-punk, yacht rock, 80s digital experimental sounds, and spent a summer listen to the music at random, then spending the next year perfecting the vein of art in which the sound was created. Dark recesses of deep grooves space the energy of hypnotic synth blends delivered at slightly-worn VHS tape pace (see: “Like Nothing Else”) and silver suit robot voice imitations dance around a central camera with mirrored background (see: “Bay Boys”) as if we’re jumping from mid-afternoon late 80s MTV in Hot Flash Heat Wave’s release. Each track rolls into the next with the obligatory pause, but if you’re not paying attention the array of sound melts together like some throwback adventure into something that reminds you of a familiarity you knew long ago, but it’s fresh enough to discover today. Modern English would be proud.
The eleven fresh tracks from Hot Flash Heat Wave drip with slightly off-center moody sonic ambiance backed by dancy beats in languishing preservation. They are just enough to make you feel them, yet enough to not bring you down. The trio releasing these tracks today may appear to be a glitch in the Matrix, but let’s face it, we’ll eat it up by the spoonful.