Dance music with feelings; beats in cardigans… and Hot Chip through and through.
Jen Long 2012-06-07
Do you remember the first time you saw Hot Chip? They were those dorky-looking men in interesting knitwear, probably singing about a monkey and a miniature cymbal. For a while quirkiness seemed their USP, but over time and a developing catalogue now stretching to five albums - not to mention nominations at the Mercury Prize and Grammy Awards - first impressions have become rather redundant.
But going back in time, to 2006’s breakthrough album The Warning, it’s clear Hot Chip fit right into the then-present-day pack. You could spend a night in any indie disco and expect to hear their sounds snuggled beside the nu-rave likes of Klaxons or CSS. But while their mid-00s contemporaries have struggled, In Our Heads confirms that Hot Chip’s existence feels effortless.
And that’s because Hot Chip are still those same men, albeit with more expensive-looking jumpers and probably far larger record collections. Listening to their newest effort is a journey through influence and experience. It’s a record that really feels as if its makers have drawn on every aspect of a shared past to produce a collection of songs that, ultimately, feel incredibly genuine.
Across the tracks of In Our Heads we get humour, honesty, heartfelt lyrics, slick RnB grooves, and the to-be-expected shimmer of near-flawless and ever-intriguing production.
Album opener Motion Sickness is classic ‘Chip, with cascading synth lines and sighing lyrics that mirror real life with an obsessive world of sound. Further into the album, Now There Is Nothing exposes a more reflective side as Alexis Taylor croons, “Not sure where you belong / My name was on your tongue.”
On first single Night and Day, the Hot Chip flare for fun burns brightly, the track containing squelching samples and a deadpan rap about not being rapper. It’s a perfectly executed track that works just as well on the radio as the dance floor.
In Our Heads is a record for all occasions, an album that balances sentiment and soul with an ever-evolving talent for constructing infectious pop hooks. It’s dance music with feelings; it’s beats in cardigans. It’s Hot Chip through and through.