Some of the best non-dubsteb dance-floor electronica of the past decade has come straight from Hot Chip. Every album they produce has at least one absolutely killer track: The Warning had “Over and Over,” Made in the Dark had “Ready for the Floor” and One Life Stand had… “One Life Stand.” These singles were endlessly danceable, funky electropop that worked as well in the club as they did in the home, and are honestly some of the most memorable and catchy jams ever written. Unfortunately, each of those albums really only has that one great song, and maybe one more: Hot Chip has historically had a huge problem with filler tracks. For every album’s “One Life Stand”, there are maybe 10 “Slush”s –boring, forgettable tracks that drag the whole record down. With the exception of The Warning, which is a solid album overall, it’s been pretty easy grab the singles and forget all the other songs. Luckily, that changes with Hot Chip’s newest, In Our Heads, which may just be their most complete recording yet.
Right from the album opener “Motion Sickness”, listeners will know exactly what they’re in for: simple, but catchy, slowly building but not tedious, nostalgic but not overdramatic, the song is a perfect introduction to the world of In Our Heads. All throughout the album, Hot Chip is in rare form –vocalist Alexis Taylor’s is soothing, not too low and not too high, and the myriad synthetic noises that back him pulse, slide and pop in just the right ways. It really is amazing to say, but there isn’t a single bad track on the entire album, and as a result the recording is infinitely more enjoyable than the last couple Hot Chip albums.
Part of the reason that this album works better than the previous ones may have to do with simple pacing: 2010’s One Life Stand would frequently veer from straight up dance beats into plodding, slower songs. Here, the tempo is consistent enough that everything flows naturally, making the album a much more enjoyable, consistent listen. And that goes a long way.
Album highlights include the aforementioned “Motion Sickness” (whose building horns may make it the best song on the album) the record’s first single “Night & Day”, and the ridiculous but undeniably fun “Don’t Deny Your Heart.” Really though, everyone else could have a different favorite set of tracks and be equally right: the album is just that strong a collection of songs. If forced to pick one bad track, though, “Now There Is Nothing” doesn’t quite hold up as well as the other 10 songs, but it still isn’t a deal-breaker.
Lyricism isn’t necessarily something people worry about much with dance music, but it must be noted that Hot Chip’s lyrics are always perfect. Simple and straightforward enough for the repetitive nature of the music, they still avoid sounding generic, and are a thousand times more earnest and endearing than the average dance track.
For those who have liked Hot Chip singles but never bothered with a full album, or those just looking for some good electronic music to jam to, you can’t really go wrong with In Our Heads.
Hot Chip - In Our Heads tracklist:
- “Motion Sickness”
- “How Do You Do”
- “Don’t Deny Your Heart”
- “Look at Where We Are”
- “These Chains”
- “Night and Day”
- “Now There Is Nothing”
- “Ends of the Earth”
- “Let Me Be Him”
- “Always Been Your Love”