Hot Chip - One Life Stand
One Life Stand, the fourth album from London band Hot Chip, is a sterling collection of melodic techno-pop augmented with Alexis Taylor’s celestial vocals and Joe Goddard’s mournful baritone. Richer and more accessible than 2008’s Made In The Dark, these ten tunes have a warmer, user-friendlier feel to them than in times past.
The joyful ‘Thieves In The Night’ opens with a delightful Creep Show organ intro giving way to the impatient thumping of beats with Taylor’s lovely tenor riding just above. ‘Hand Me Down Your Love’ has a retro 80’s is feel to it, replete with disco-y distorted background vocals and punchy piano chords running throughout like a bass-line. ‘I Feel Better’ is lush dreamy pop, with the synthesizers sounding like strings while Taylor’s airy falsetto and Goddard’s moody baritone add a hypnotic quality to the song. Title track ‘One Life Stand’ is a knockout: cool and cocky, with steel drums playing alongside the whistles and bleeps of the synths. The song is playful and fun, perfectly illustrating the band’s return to the energy and fuller arrangements of their earlier material. Gone is the needless experimentation. Instead the songs are more polished and textured; they seem to fill any room with a glowing light.
Smack dab in the middle of the upbeat tunes are three stunning slow songs: ‘Brothers’ shows Goddard in fine form, his understated monotone seems to keep the rest of the song in check while the orchestra of synths and Taylor’s soft voice swirl around him. The glorious mirror-ball beauty of ‘Slush’ is the perfect song for a slow dance in the ball room, Taylor proving just what a top-notch crooner he can be. ‘Alley Cats’ is quiet and thoughtful, the mix of guitar and synths and Goddard and Taylor’s interchanging vocals give it an almost ghostly feel.
The overall feel of this album is FUN with songs that are not only a joy to listen to but are sure to get you on the dance floor, finding the perfect balance between cutting-edge electro and crowd-pleasing tunes. There is still that feeling of goofy spontaneity, but it has been tempered with tighter, more elegant arrangements, like the Thomas Dolby-esque ‘Keep Quiet’ or the edgy jubilation of ‘Take It In’ with Goddard’s methodical singing juxtaposed nicely with the upbeat tempo of the music.
With One Life Stand Hot Chip are sure to broaden their horizons. This album will not only please the die-hard fans but will also rake in some new ones. Unabashedly poppy with catchy rhythms and clever lyrics, these tasty tunes will get you on your feet. Do you want a shake with those fries?