Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Despite all this seemingly new wave-laden, impeccably cool, retrograde influence, 'Make Up The Break Down' is indisputably now.
  2. No matter your feelings on the mic work, though, you can't help but notice the musical talent at play here, be it in the unusual song structures or the unobtrusive, color-adding use of the organ behind Dante DeCaro's unpredictable chords.
  3. One of the more unique pop albums of the year.
  4. They inject high-strung pop a la Drums and Wires-era XTC with punk-funk dynamics, while flamboyantly strangulated singer Steve Bays croons like Joe Jackson battling hot-sauce hiccups. [Listen 2 This Supplement, 11/2002, p.14]
  5. Splendid ramshackle pop corniness. [Dec 2002, p.81]
  6. Amazingly, the entire package coalesces without sounding tacky, no matter how funhouse-quirky the instrumentation gets.
  7. Hot Hot Heat have managed to find a corner of the rock universe that hasn't been overkilled and have made an impressive and imaginative album.
  8. An addictive, densely packed pop gem that ranks among 2002's best albums.
  9. It's a great way to start off a career.
  10. Breakdown is gleeful, digestible, and eminently enjoyable.
  11. An exuberant, modern-day, new-wave joyride. [#36, p.60]
  12. 80
    One long indie/new-wave rave-up, all spring-loaded guitars, stabbing organs, and footloose drums. [Dec 2002, p.138]
  13. While Hot Hot Heat's sound may be derivative, its songs aren't.
  14. 80
    Like The Dismemberment Plan's Emergency and I, this seems to glide from one high-energy song to another, each one unique and fascinating by itself, echoing the sparse tones of The Police here and there, or INXS's Kick-era attention to beat in other places.
  15. Hot Hot Heat's compelling energy, original hooks and rhythms, and quirky, sometimes indiscernible lyrics combine to make Make Up the Breakdown one of the most energetic and enjoyable listens of the year.
  16. Someone had to pick up where Oingo Boingo left off when Danny Elfman decided to grow old and rich composing film scores.
  17. 60
    When on their game -- about two-thirds of this to-the-point-set -- Hot Hot Heat are too breathlessly enjoyable to refuse. [Apr 2003, p.98]
  18. By the half-hour's end you might well consider strangling the singer but, by that time, these tunes will have launched their own potent psychological counterblast. [Apr 2003, p.109]
  19. Hot Hot Heat prize the backbeat as much as the melody, sometimes more.
  20. Like their NYC peers Liars and the Rapture, HHH are adept at fusing dancefloor polemics with angular guitar atmospherics, yet their sound lacks the sweat-soaked sexual ardor that those groups flaunt so remorselessly.
  21. Hot Hot Heat's religious devotion to early eighties new wave is simply embarrassing.
  22. 40
    It's a snappy, catchy hybrid, though one that irritates pretty quickly. [Apr 2003, p.105]
  23. 40
    In their desperate eagerness to please, HHH offer a few modest pleasures. [#12, p.143]

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