Hot Puppies - Under The Crooked Moon

Hot Puppies

Glossy songs with dark hearts on The Hot Puppies' long-awaited debut album.
Fierce Panda: 24 July 2006

Last updated: 20 November 2008

Packed to the rafters with glamour, panache and wry tales of love and loss, with a swooning theatricality owing as much to pre-pop as post-punk, The Hot Puppies' debut album is a diverse and spirited affair.

Under The Crooked Moon cover

    There's a timelessness running through its songs that puts the band well ahead of their years. Songwriter-in-chief Luke Taylor's fluid guitar work covers all bases from twanging surf licks (Terry) to acoustic balladry (Heartbreak Soup), while his lyrics waltz deftly between Leonard Cohen and Federico García Lorca, stopping along the way to reference silent movie stars, John the Baptist and Mariella Frostrup.

    Show-stopping tearjerkers How Come You Don't Hold Me No More and Love In Practice, Not Theory are tailor-made for the dramatic, broken vocals of Becky Newman. Older songs Green Eyeliner, The Drowsing Nymph and Baptist Boy, meanwhile, have been re-recorded, replacing much of their previous hyperactivity with self-assuredness along the way.

    Elsewhere, Bonnie And Me's coda pilfers the hook from Buffalo Soldier, and Anita 'Ring My Bell' Ward's syn-drums are recycled on The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful. The Hot Puppies, you may have realised, aren't afraid to embrace the uncool on their genre-hopping trips down the back lanes of pop.

    The rolling Theda Bara compares Hollywood's silent age with the mundane slog of life on the road. "Have you ever had a broken heart? Have you ever had a no good job?" sings Newman. "Follow me if you feel that your life's not working, and you're sick and tired of rehearsing."

    It's sound advice. On the strength of Under The Crooked Moon, The Hot Puppies won't be spending much time waiting in the wings.

    Words: Joe Goodden

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