Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #214 - Hot Chip, "In Our Heads"

Heard bad things about this already. And I don't have time to listen to much of it twice, so the pressure is on Alexis and Joe and the boys.

I used to very much love Hot Chip - and at their very best, they will always be in my pantheon of great bands. "The Warning" is an amazing, complicated, mournful, melodic slab of invention and emotion that chartered in retrospect moments in my life that had already happened: tiny fissures of heartbreak and hormonal lurches at the apex of personal crisis. But now I, and many many others, get the sense they've lost interest and direction.

"Motion Sickness" is a good start, pining vocals and bristling banks of poignant chords. There's a four-to-the-floor cheek on "How Do You Do?"; positive upward musical lines and a nice, bouncy bass. "A church is not for praying/It's for celebrating the light that bleeds through the pain."There's more Eighties positivism on the following track as well, "Don't Deny Your Heart". Is this a deliberate attempt to heal Broken Britain through the medium of tumbling house music? With added steel pans?

"Night And Day" has the same bounce that the 2 Bears album has from earlier this year. Even the same lower-octave effect on the vocal. Synth noises scatter around in pleasing showers. Rubber basslines chew the walls. It's good. "Flutes" follows, building up from a nice chanting rhythm. I've read that the negative reviews pick this out as a standout track. It's certainly a bit more complicated than the others. And we all like complexity, eh?

I'm enjoying this album much more than I was expecting. I had Mark Anthony ideas of coming to bury them, but I'm lending them my ears easily. "Ends of the Earth" has the same wheeling, foolhardy attitudes to chords and musical progressions that I like to think belong to Hot Chip. The other Hot Chip characteristic is declarations of love and the last two tracks are full of them too - "Let Me Be Him" and "Always Been Your Love". Slower paced and the latter with a weirdly Seventies breathy womanly voice muttering about something or other.

So Hot Chip continue to fight another year or two in my good books. They must be delighted.

Rating: Foolhardy out of Bouncy And Mournful

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