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Hot Chip wants to be your One Life Stand

by admin February 16, 2010

Hot Chip – One Life Stand
(Parlophone, 2010)

Music Video: http://bit.ly/8xTIdR

8.5/10

Hot Chip’s fourth album, One Life Stand, the hotly anticipated follow-up to 2008’s Made In the Dark, conveys a strong sense of romance. But it avoids becoming too cheesy, staying heartwarming and calm.
Mixing electronic sounds and human voices – trying to mesh precise, machine-like noise with the ups and downs of vocalized emotion – can be tricky, but Hot Chip is close to mastering the craft. Its electropop style, influenced by classic disco beats, balances synthesized melodies and rhythms with complementary instrumentals and catchy vocals.

Somewhat mysterious and abstract in terms of lyrics, “Thieves in the Night” introduces the album with high potential. With less of a pop theme than some other tracks, the song gives an impression of a poetic-disco hybrid. Take away the poetic lyrics, though, and you’ve got a mesmerizing house beat that you’ll want to repeat before listening to the rest of the album. Definitely the five-star track of the album.

In the second track, “Hand Me Down Your Love,” the piano and drum heavy instrumental intro is intriguing, but the synthesizer comes in weak, unsure if it really belongs, and the lyrics are lacking the mysterious appeal of “Thieves in the Night.” It is the only track of the ten that seems to miss the sensitive balance of synth, instrumentals and vocals.
Things start to look up again with track three, “I Feel Better.” At its core, the track is brimming with honest, warm vocals but does not shy away from the electronic setting. It brings you back to the funkier disco-electropop thread running through the album.
Next, the climactic title track – a tensely romantic, life-promise ballad. While the track may bring in tinges of an old David Bowie tune, it’s the lyrics that set it apart from any of Bowie’s work. It’s got a strong beat, with fun musical interludes between verses. Possibly making it another five-star track.

The following six tracks blend together after the satisfying journey through the first four of the album. Heart felt and relaxing, with lighter tempo house vibes, “Brothers” sweeps over the low-key, up and down background sounds with consistently chill vocals – the opposite of the usual electronic-human mix, but equally enchanting.
While Hot Chip might not be forging new paths in the electropop world with One Life Stand, its sound is enticing and it could definitely stand as a strong example of the post-disco genre. If this British quintet continues to produce such alluring, optimistic music, there’s no doubt their work will only get better.

Trial track: “One Life Stand”