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Hot Chip – One Life Stand (Album Review)

January 30, 2010

Label: DFA/EMI
Release date: 01/02/10
Website: MySpace

We’ve all been there. You have a friend that how has ‘found love’. He/she stops staying out to the wee hours for the most, the consumption of arbitrary intoxicants from ‘Dave’ ceases, says no to that last drink… and, well, grows up basically; matures – possibly becoming a more ‘well rounded’, happier individual. Well folks, Hot Chip have found love for their 4th studio album, One Life Stand, and have too followed this path.

One Life Stand marks a noticeable departure from previous releases – the brilliantly erratic Made In The Dark showcased the schizophrenic energy from the South London quintet – such as the straight up dance floor smash of Ready For The Floor, a couple of ballads thrown in and some dirtier electronics and experimentation-led tunes. Lead single One Night Stand captures the mood of the album – though only in it’s name (as previously discussed). A perfect blend of melodic pop, yet something that you can move to also, classic Hot Chip – “I will offer you my temper/In the hope that you will tame me” Alexis Taylor pleads.

I Feel Better is more of a signifier – a coherent, hugely melodic pop/soul gem, featuring a hooky string arrangement, and most remarkably of all, shows the gloriously sweet voice of Taylor, a song he has been waiting his whole life to sing. “I only want one night/together in our arms” Taylor croons – offset against the auto-tuned voice of Joe Goddard, providing quite the synergy. Some steel drums even creep into the end, Hot Chip still a hotbed of creative activity no matter what sound they produce.

A few ‘ballad’ tracks in the middle of the album threaten to become lost – Slush in particular is fairly forgettable and bereft of a much-needed spark – the other side of ‘your friend’ finding love; at times becoming almost dull to the outsider. Though the good far outweighs the bad overall, tracks such as opener Thieves In the Dark triumph over, echoing And I Was A Boy From School, arguably Hot Chip’s finest hour. The album ends of a large high with Take It In, with a dark, brooding, hooky verse at first, only to be juxtaposed with a soulful chorus that swims inside of you, and can get lost in.

So, gone are the threats of Hot Chip breaking your legs, and snapping off your head – (“less craziness to it” as Goddard says) to be replaced by a far more coherent album, that remains typically ‘English’ sounding; a rarity in the alterative world. This feels like the sound Hot Chip have been itching to display for while – sauntering into the Pop/soul area, Robert Wyatt influenced, side-stepping away from a dance act. Although some Hot Chip fans may find it all slightly off-putting at first, the tunes are so well crafted, only the most cold-hearted bitter person would reject. A joy.

Rating: 9/10

Download – I Feel Better

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