Hot Chip | One Life Stand
Most Likely To: prove once again that, like God, Hot Chip don’t make no junk.
The music world is rife with bands that offer up one great record never to be heard from again–or worse, they keep releasing records that they should have shelved. Yet Hot Chip has consistently made unconventional, even slightly funny, dance music that is unmistakably their own since their very first release, 2004’s Coming On Strong. “Happiness is what we all want,” sweetly sings Alexis Taylor on “Thieves in the Night,” the lead off track from Hot Chip’s fourth full-length release, One Life Stand, making beatitude seem almost within reach.
Until One Life Stand, Hot Chip’s essence sprang from the off-kilter vocal balance between Taylor’s upper register and Joe Goddard’s almost goofy counterpoint. Where Taylor is fey, like Erasure’s Andy Bell without a watchful producer to remove the occasional striation, Goddard has always stepped in with his less-than-perfect offerings to give the songs humanity that could easily be lost when music relies heavily on electronics and gadgetry. But, lo, on the title track, Goddard offers a relatively tuneful falsetto. Auto-tune was probably invented with Joe Goddard in mind, so it’s not too surprising when he tries it out on “I Feel Better.” The “real” Goddard returns on “Alley Cats,” where his vocals weave in and out of Taylor’s over a wash of dulcet synth chords.
When James Murphy quipped on “Losing My Edge,” “I hear you’re buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real. You want to make a Yaz record,” he could have been talking about Goddard and Taylor. Hot Chip has never been afraid of employing a little oddity in the name of creativity. “Slush” begins with Taylor singing, “homina homina homina homina hom” before launching into a ballad that might sound a bit too sincere without the juxtaposition of the cheeky intro. One Life Stand represents a new era for Hot Chip because now even though they are not afraid to make something sound beautiful, or even moving, they remember it’s often the slub in the silk is that makes it endure.
Check out the video for “One Life Stand” below: