Hot Chip opens up their newest album, One Life Stand with a 6 minute dance track "Thieves In The Night", which sums up the album in both sound and attitude.
Much of what Hot Chip explores on One Life Stand is in the same vein, long-winded and bizarrely infectious. Dance music seems to be adopting a "whatever works" attitude right now and sometimes it works and a lot of the time it's pretty horrible.
Hot Chip, for the most part, makes it work. They find a nice classic sound inside their niche of rich electronic layers and find neat ways of using auto-tuner, jock jam string-synths, electric piano, clicky dance beats and organic drums to create something really homegrown. A lot of dance groups try and throw a lot of eclectic elements into their music as a way of looking back and summoning a bit of history and usually end up sounding fake. Hot Chip seems to have a good ear for using odd instrumentation as an underscore and less of a gimmick.
That's probably the most impressive thing about Hot Chip's One Life Stand, how grounded in reality and personality it is. Like other substance first, style second dance acts like J.U.S.T.I.C.E. or Daft Punk, the beat is important, but it's resonance with the audience is key. Most of the album has a lot of soul, but that very of humanness probably has more to do with a thread of sadness or melancholy that floats through the whole thing.
And while it's clear they have a strong idea of what they're trying to make, One Life Stand is dense and overwhelming at times. The density might be because of how it was made, Vocalists Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard described the process as one mainly consisting of them writing together before approaching the band. It also might be because of some strange finality One Night Stand carries. Not to say this will be Hot Chip's last album, but there is a sense of closure that the album reaches toward.
Whether Hot Chip was tired of the silliness or just showing their age, One Life Stand is a strong release. It ebbs and flows and never breaks a nice balance of reflection and dance music. The two stand out tracks are definitely "I Feel Better" and "Alley Cats" in the sense they seem to capture the personal vibe Taylor and Goddard were trying to create. The title track too is a great mesh of infectious dance music and self-exploration. -Ryan Broderick
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MP3:"I Feel Better" - One Life Stand
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