You could pass off London band New Build as yet another associated act to Hot Chip, but that would be doing it, and the rest of those associated acts, a huge disservice. If you are a fan of Hot Chip, then you already know that everything that spawns from Hot Chip is incredible. The 2 Bears (featuring Joe Goddard of Hot Chip) made their debut this year and threw down a killer house and techno record. About Group (featuring Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip) put out a wonderful impromptu experimental soul record in 2011. Now, the baton falls to Al Doyle (who spent some time with LCD Soundsystem) and Felix Martin with New Build and their debut LP Yesterday Was Lived and Lost. Joined by engineer Tom Hopkins, the group brings us a delightful record that takes a touch from each of these prior projects to present a cornucopia of dance music from every corner of the map.
New Build jumps through the decades on the first half of their record, and it’s glorious. “Medication” has a tinge of Thin White Duke era Bowie in it’s funk-driven bass line and shimmering guitar and synth accents. “Misery Loves Company” echoes late disco and “Miranda, Be My Guide” simmers with the nu wave tropical elements tackled by Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, and others. On “Behind The Shutter”, the band finally breaks into full-fledged electronic dance music with vintage MIDI string synths and a long emotional build. Finally with “Schism of the Mind” and “Do You Not Feel Loved?”, New Build find themselves in the present day. But it’s not really the fact that New Build pulls from all these sources that makes them cool. Rather, it’s the fact that they can do it all on one 50 minute album without upsetting the pacing and energy of the record.
On the latter half of the record, New Build gets more experimental, taking all the textures they introduced in the first half and mixing them all together. “The Third One” and “Mercy” take funk for a dance-punk spin mixing in noise and an overdose of texture. “Finding Reasons” (one of the earliest New Build projects) is a slow buildup of Peter Gabriel drums and textures, while talking about the anxiety of getting older and feeling disconnected. “Last Gasp” is a quiet and quaint ballad to calm the energy down to a crawl before “Silence and the Muttering” ends the album with a heavy 80s shoegaze vibe.
New Build’s Yesterday Was Lived and Lost is a danceable journey through all the musical influences behind some truly great music. It’s like a great DJ set (which nearly every member of Hot Chip has been known to throw at one point or another) where every cut builds on the next, even though the tracks might not even be in the same section at your local record store. It’s that kind of dexterity and knowledge that makes a group like New Build really admirable. Yesterday Was Lived and Lost will no doubt have a dance track for everyone, but the record is more fun and more rewarding if you just take the dive and listen to it all the way through. In a music business obsessed with singles and repeating the same formula over and over again, New Build brings us a record that remembers how we got where we are, and revels in it.