The news that the new Hot Chip album was a lower bpm effort that 2008’s ‘Made In The Dark’ seemed to prompt undue concern in some quarters. Had our favourite electro geeks gone all pipe and slippers on us? Remember though the beauty of ‘The Warning’’s ‘And I Was A Boy From School’ and rest assured.
‘Thieves In The Night’ opens the album in a slow burning fashion but builds to a suitably frenetic, euphoric climax. So far so good. The first single from the album, ‘One Life Stand’, is a suitable enough effort until a gloriously out of tune synth line merrily throws a spanner in the works. ‘Slush’ takes things down to ballad level with a piano led 6/8 time soul ballad accompanied by the (surely) tongue in cheek “humina humina humina” backing vocal. Taylor’s voice can thankfully carry such dalliances, being a very English, very white, very unlikely soul man. The appearance of mournful steel drums, (and who’d have thought that was possible), makes you weep with the realisation that this is heartfelt, painful stuff.
It’s not all tongue-in-cheek, ironic fun round Hot Chip’s gaff. ‘Alley Cats’ continues the heartfelt beauty before ‘We Have Love’ steers us onto the dancefloor, its persistent hi-hat cleaning out the synapses. ‘Keep Quiet’ is a frosty meditation thawing for album closer, ‘Take It In’’s plea “Please take my heart and keep it close to you / Take it in, take it in”.
So yes, different to ‘Made In The Dark’ but a more cohesive and more heartfelt effort too. ‘One Life Stand’ sees Hot Chip let us into their hearts as well as their thoughts.
Words by Nick Annan