Album Review: Hot Chip – In Our Heads

With every album, Hot Chip continue to defy the odds and amaze us. From a distance, their vibe seems limiting. They dig disco, soul, and electro and season everything they do with a vintage nuance that borders on geek chic. They debuted this sound with Coming On Strong in 2004 and perfected it on The Warning in 2005. But with each record after that, Hot Chip has had it in mind to show us how vast their undertaking can be. Made In The Dark was brilliant and forward in all the ways that The Warning wasn’t, but it also backed into darker and quieter corners with later tracks “Whistle For Will” and “In the Privacy of Our Love.” On One Life Stand, Hot Chip dove head first into disco for their most straightforward record yet. The band certainly hadn’t gained any subtlety since their last effort, but as Hot Chip turned to finding beauty in the simplicity of their tracks and more lyrical focus, fans might have feared that the days of Hot Chip’s complex, face-melting dance tracks were behind them. That is, of course, until they dropped “Flutes” and “Night & Day.”

On March 15, Hot Chip released the pseudo-video for “Flutes”. As the camera spun around and around, the swirling track built and built and built. It had complicated beat dichotomies, soaring vocal lines, and unsurprisingly, some pretty sweet flutes. Mid-April, the band released “Night & Day”: the punchiest, sexiest, and most addictive Hot Chip single since “Over and Over” from The Warning. The two tracks became a proper single in late May along with the hilarious and crazy video for “Night & Day”. Now, as In Our Heads appears on shelves, the big question is this: does In Our Heads live up to the massive precedent set by these two monster tracks? In short, yes.

Hot Chip makes their Domino debut with the biggest production of their career. Hot Chip is no longer that timid dance punk band of the past that sang “I Was The Boy From School” with all the charisma of a boarding school chess club. Opener “Motion Sickness” is a massive track that bursts at the seams with all the exuberance the band can muster. “How Do You Do?” and “Don’t Deny Your Heart” are two very different vintage dance tunes that demand the same speaker-blowing volume. After that, Alexis Taylor pulls the rug out from under everything to croon one of the best R&B songs of the year. “Look At Where We Are” is equal parts tear-jerker and groove – a feat that only Hot Chip could ever pull off. The band builds the energy back up with 90s dance track “These Chains” before “Night & Day” and “Flutes” come in at full blast.

On the back half of the album, you get the very classic Hot Chip tracks “Now There Is Nothing” and “Always Been Your Love” as well as powerful dance anthem “Ends Of The Earth”. “Let Me Be Him” is a slow builder house track that makes an epic cry for reconciliation with a jaded lover. All of these are elements familiar to Hot Chip far and wide, but with every record, Hot Chip reinvents the wheel and collectively blows our minds. Looking back through their library, no two songs of theirs sound completely alike, and each album is a testament unto itself. In Our Heads continues this tradition in sparkling fashion and gives us one of the best electronic records of the year.

In Our Heads is in stores now on CD and double vinyl! Also, Hot Chip is coming to Seattle on September 14 for a show at the Paramount (DFA band YACHT is opening). Tickets are on sale now and you can grab them here.

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One Comment

  1. sheryl
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Now There Is Nothing is a terrible awful piece of music. Had to extract it from my hard drive and get rid of it from iTunes. AWFUL

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