Since debuting their earliest musical experiments nearly 10 years ago, Hot Chip have been known as pioneers of rhythmic electropop. Their first full-length, Coming on Strong, was warmly received, although their sophomore effort solidified a staunch fan base, all of whom now eagerly anticipate the band's 4th studio album, One Life Stand.
In early 2009, Hot Chip-man, Alexis Taylor, made mention that the new recordings were going to be "a bit calmer this time" in comparison to previous works that are "more mid-tempo and disco influenced". While I did have this "disclaimer" in mind before the maiden spin of One Life Stand, how would that affect the marks given to each track? Read on and find out.
Hot Chip - 01 - Thieves in the Night [great choice for opener with a mix of thunderous drums and harmonic synths...6 minutes of power...A-]
Hot Chip - 02 - Hand Me Down Your Love [piano-driven tune lends to a funkier /repetitive HC. isn't that what we expect from them though...B]
Hot Chip - 03 - I Feel Better [someone called it a house version of "la isla bonita" yesterday...cant say i disagree or hate the track...A-]
Hot Chip - 04 - One Life Stand [opening spine-shaking beat is sadly the highlight of this messy title track...stops short of potential...B-]
Hot Chip - 05 - Brothers [from first note knew this'd be my fave...lush vocals...this is not your dancey hot chip...get ready to feel...A+]
Hot Chip - 06 - Slush [yawn, you've lost me on this one boys...from the previous tender jam to this slow "ballad", if you will, is meh...C-]
Hot Chip - 07 - Alley Cats [starts off cute enough but gosh, these emo-fueled tracks don't lend to the dancing that wants to come out...C]
Hot Chip - 08 - We Have Love [nice change from past 2 but again, this one is on the cusp of being great and falls just short...damn it...B-]
Hot Chip - 09 - Keep Quiet [you've gotta be kidding me...another one that plods along...who was going through drama while writing this...C-]
Hot Chip - 10 - Take it In [picking up tempo to close out the album...symphonic chorus vocals are sweetening...liked more on 3rd listen...B]
Here's my beastly reaction to the album as a whole. Simply, it doesn't work. While yes, the production is spot-on and I have the utmost respect for the time and effort it goes into creating one unique track, let alone 10, there is a haphazard discontinuity from start to finish. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the slower tracks simply because they "aren't bangers". In fact, you'll note that my favorite cut (Brothers) is not your typical Hot Chip up-tempo jam. There's simply a passionate aspect missing to the songs that, I feel, were designed to incite some sort of emotional, rather than physical, reaction.
Let's put it this way. If One Life Stand were cut into two EPs, I would leave the second half untouched and continue to spin the first five tracks...over and over.
Hot Chip's One Life Stand is out February 9 on EMI. Pre-order here.
mp3: Hot Chip - One Life Stand (Drums Of Death Remix)