Review: Hot Chip – In Our Heads
The more one is a fan of a band, the more vested in their continued output, the more angsty one can get in anticipation of successive releases. We’ve been big fans of Hot Chip since the very beginning, particularly digging their last two albums, Made in the Dark and One Life Stand, which we reviewed somewhat rapturously on this very blog. So it is that we greet their new album, In Our Heads with great anticipation and the usual bit of nervousness – what next hath thou wrought, Hot Chip?
Well, for one thing they’ve gone and busted out the disco machines in full force. This is a dance album through and through. Hot Chip have finally gone all the way over and become a disco act. Unfortunately, and perhaps a little surprisingly (since = who better to embrace their white suits and medallions?) it doesn’t work and the result is a diminished act.There’s a tired monotony to much of this album, something that we’ve never been able to say about their previous work. We’ve been listening to the album steadily for weeks and have to keep checking the liner notes to remember which song is which. That’s never a good omen. There’s lots going on in nearly every song, lots of bells a whistles being employed, a lovely sense of quirk throughout, but where’s the “One Life Stand”, the “Ready for the Floor”, the “Thieves in the Night” – where are the stand out songs that transcend the album and keep you coming back for more? Many in the hipster community have embraced “Night and Day” or “Flutes” but even these songs are repetitive and kind of dull. “The Warning” may be the most anti-climactic single they’ve ever released.
There are stand outs. For example, “Now There is Nothing” has a nice groove and “Motion Sickness” is a fun, clever pop song; There’s some cool stuff here and one has to take their hat off to the band for taking risks and messing about with their sound. One just wishes it was better executed.
They still embody such a sense of fun and whimsy it’s impossible not to root for this band (and extra points for their always-entertaining, often exhilarating videos – see below), but whimsy aside, the song writing still needs to pack a punch and deliver and for most of this album it simply doesn’t. One looks forward to the combination of this spirit of experimentation with a more solid committment to songwriting. That’s an album we will anticipate with more excitement than nervous trepidation…
Watch: Night and Day