Saturday, 23 June 2012

Hot Chip - In Our Heads

Hot Chip’s new self-produced album has got to be one of the most anticipated albums of 2012 for a lot of people: after 2010’s fantastic ‘One life Stand’, and two new tantalisingly brilliant tracks being released up to the release date.

Despite initial (slightly disappointed) reactions, the album is a calmer, dreamier record than any of Hot Chip’s previous offerings. Throughout, ‘In Our Heads’ seems to have a woozy, repetitive drag to it. However, with none of the 11 tracks falling below the 5 minute mark, whether this drag is entirely a positive thing throughout may be questioned. This has never been a problem for Hot Chip before. They have always managed to keep interest in a long song, due to their idiosyncrasies- the little noises, the lyrics and the layers in the music. It’s not that the band have removed these elements completely, there’s things like gorgeous bird song samples on ‘Let Me Be Him’ which are a really lovely touch and add to the dream-like quality of the album as a whole. It’s just that some parts of some songs feel just slightly overdone and even indulgent.

However this drag seems intentional and it does suit the album, which seems to express the feeling of falling in love. ‘How Do You Do’ is a beautiful, wonky love song, with an awesome bass introduction and the almost plaintive ’How do you do it?/ you make me want to live again’. Again, a love song, ‘don’t deny your heart/ don’t destroy your heart’ pleads Alexis in the hook of ‘Don’t Deny Your Heart’, which captures the charming, knowingly slightly cheesy elements of previous infectious songs. On ‘These Chains’, the lyrics sum up perfectly a feeling of complete surrender to the one you love: ‘these chains/ you’ve bound around my heart/complete me/ baby/ I will not be free again’.

There are also, in true hot chip style, some huge stonkers: the ridiculously funky ‘Night And Day’ is at the heart of the album and pleases with its hip-hop elements blended with classic Hot Chip melodies and quirks. ‘Flutes’, the first teaser track for the album, is also huge, in all its slow building, ‘ear worm’ creating glory (the ‘one day you might realise/ that you might need to open your eyes’ line swims round and round in my head for days on end); it must already be a Hot Chip Classic!

Always a highlight of Hot Chip’s music, Alexis Taylor’s dreamy voice is reflected in much of the music on this album. The mellow ‘Now There Is Nothing’ is genuinely gorgeous, and with Alexis’ laid back ‘do do do do dooo’ sounds light and summery, similar to many of Metronomy’s ‘English Riviera’ tracks. A slight slow-burner, and much more subtle and understated than many of Hot Chip’s previous records, but accomplished , dreamily and jubilant throughout.


Holly Read-Challen

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