Being in a band in Calgary hasn't always been the greatest career choice. The city's music scene isn't as well-known as Montreal's or Vancouver's and as a result many bands have to leave town to get their big breaks. Now that the Calgary scene is starting to get more attention, local bands like Hot Little Rocket are finally getting noticed. It also helps that the band's latest album, How To Lose Everything, is quite good.
Veterans of Calgary's music venues, Hot Little Rocket has hooked up with producer Steve Albini (also known for his work with locals The Cape May) for their sixth album. The result is a polished sound, but not a manufactured one. The band's sound isn't overly complex, but the four-piece uses their tools effectively, creating a simplistic yet full sound anchored by Andrew Wedderburn's vocals. From the toe-tapping opener "Like Killers" straight through to the very end, the album is tremendously well-paced and doesn't scuttle its momentum with any bizarre experiments. That's not to say that the quartet don't mix things up, but songs like "This Decade," "Call the Wedding Off" and "Sleep Today" play to their strengths rather than search for new ones.
On the whole, How to Lose Everything works because it's a series of well-constructed, catchy three-to-four minute songs. Hot Little Rocket seems to have perfected this model and, at worst, may be destined to create more fun, light albums. If they challenge themselves, they could get even better. Either way, How to Lose Everything showcases that there's no reason why a band can't be both Calgarian and successful.