Reuters covered the release of Hot Chip’s new album, One Life Stand. Let that sink in for a second. A global news service saw fit to comment on the fourth release of a bizarre little electropop band from England. The five blokes behind Hot Chip still look like math teachers and rock a room full of synthesizers. Yet ten years in, they remain ascendant, which means they must push their sound, or risk fan defection. One Life Stand‘s aerobics-class beats, vocoder blurps, and emo melodies certainly don’t back down. They stand their ground, from the warbling organ of “Thieves in the Night” to the cheesy vocal harmonies of closer “Take It In.” Standout track “Hand Me Down Your Love” may seduce new listeners with an infectious trap kit and piano melody in a classic pop arrangement. But most of One Life Stand offers a kind of homely, begrudging catchiness. Dense thickets of production sound-check forty years of electronic production, hemming in tranquil valleys of R&B crooning. Vocally, Hot Chip’s all grown up, singing on “Brothers” it’s not about who won or lost/with my brothers; quite a bit of distance from the days of singing I’m like Stevie Wonder/but I can see things.
One Life Stand reinvogorates that sense of listening to something a little bit cracked, a little bit too weird, yet utterly magnetic. The world has become its dance floor. (EMI)