Album Review: Hot Chip – One Life Stand (EMI, 2010)

Ben Weisz 9 February 2010

Hot Chip. Epitome of Geek Chic. Sweatered purveyors of danceable electro. The band that announced gleefully on album #1: “Hot Chip will break your legs.” Without having lost any of their trademark nerdy charm, their latest album sees them grow up.

The year out recording has paid off. Joe Goddard’s grating nasal voice has blossomed into a melodious falsetto. In Blondie-esque opener ‘Thieves In The Night,’ bass keeps the shimmering synths in check as Goddard’s vocals sail over the top. The band runs a tight musical ship, and the result is a slice of electrical perfection.

But just as you’ve settled into the familiarity of former albums, ‘Hand Me Down Your Love,’ stripped down to thumping piano and beautiful harmonies, makes it clear that this is not business as usual.

The old surrealism remains (‘One Life Stand’ a clashing of Notting Hill Carnival and Space Invaders), but the mellow tracks, like gorgeously hazy ‘Brothers’, really stand out.

The transition isn’t always flawless. ‘Slush’ is an apt title for one schmaltz too far, and ‘I Feel Better’ could be written off as bad R n’ B. Nevertheless, it will become one of the year’s guiltiest pleasures. This is a significant departure from Made In The Dark, and it isn’t always executed spotlessly. Yet you have to take your hat off to Hot Chip. Ranging from snappy neon coolness to Tim-Burton-in-a-music-shop, One Life Stand is a real joy to listen to.

Ben Weisz