Hot Chip - Made In The Dark

For an outfit who resemble extras from ‘Revenge Of The Nerds’,  Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard drive their band of quirky beat flippers and varied song builders boldly, bravely and a touch hypnotically into third album territory.

Right from the off, the groove creation and sturdy mid-tempo drive hits home through the Felix Da Housecat style pitching and mild thrust of ’Out At The Pictures’. To follow this up ‘Shake A Fist’, draws out a murky, seedy ambient intro that conjures up memories of Underworld at their movie sound tracking best. The vocals adopt a soothing rhythmic touch before an authoritative narrative slides in. Then a killer pace switch brings in zapping beats of the Ferry Corsten ilk and mildly screechy, nonsensical vocals add to the enigma. It’s then back down-to-earth with the most structured and tuneful treat from this captivating assortment ‘Ready For The Floor’, as Da Chip release slow, stirring and infectiously catchy stammering vocals coupled with a lounge/groove backdrop. A combination that made ‘Over And Over’, so popular on the Mercury Prize nominated last album, ‘The Warning’. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Nah, the panel wouldn’t have bottle to even nominate them for another Mercury Prize, let alone possess the necessary spirit and gumption to announce them as the winners of it.

Whilst this time around there is a generally a more swirling push to proceedings, low key echoing vox and a creaking orchestral intro that slips into a lightly jangling percussion slow burner, make ‘Were Looking For A Lot Of Love’ a melting interlude. This thoughtfulness and a more pedestrian pace can also be found in the title track. What is most puzzling about this thirteen track escapism endorsement is that most releases leaning towards the dance end of the music market generally rely upon building up a rising tempo, then finding and settling into a groove. Not Da Chip, they flit around with their moods and the pace as though each song is set in its own separate time capsule.

Lyrically speaking, this quintet steps up this time around, as meaning filters into several of these offerings. For example, those wracking their brains concerning what to put in that all important Valentine’s Day card are helped in their plight through ‘Wrestlers’;

“It’s me versus you and love, we’ll tag-team double up.

 Hit you in the sweet spot and make you wish you’d duffed up.”

What better way to win the affection of your heart’s desire than by drawing an analogy with one of the most graceful and elegant art forms known to man?

Melancholy seeps into ‘Whistle For Will’, despite lasting for little over two minutes it has that ability to linger for ten times as long. Hot Chip has set the standard for albums this year, as many styles and themes are visited and every mood/whim of the listener is catered for.

Dave Adair

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