one life stand (parlophone)
ELECTRO-POP WIZARDS DELIVER CRACKING THIRD ALBUM
Rating: 8 / 10
Olaf Tyaransen, 21 Jan 2010
After 2008’s relatively disappointing Made In The Dark (a fine album, but still a bit of a let-down after the sheer brilliance of The Warning), UK five-piece Hot Chip are back on track with this fourth long-player. While Made In The Dark sounded like a random selection of decent songs, there’s a well-rounded cohesiveness to the 10 numbers on One Life Stand that suggests the band have deliberately eschewed wilfully zany eclecticism and concentrated instead on delivering an album’s worth of solidly soulful pop perfection.
While you can still dance to it (indeed, it’d be hard not to), there’s a humanity and a melancholia to One Life Stand that was notably absent from their last release. The title track, and lead single, is arguably one of the best things they’ve ever done – balancing strutting in-yer-face verses and spiky synths with a warm and genuinely soulful chorus. After Joe Goddard’s Kanye-esque AutoTuned verses, Alexis Taylor’s melodramatically sung chorus on ‘I Feel Better’ is almost better. With sawing violins, pulsing keyboards and eerie backing vocals, the brilliant ‘Alley Cats’ will surely be a hit single (when the three vocalists co-harmonise on the line “There is no pain I don’t know,” you really share it).
Ultimately, with this fine return to form, Hot Chip have never sounded hotter. Groovy, eccentric and genuinely soulful, this is a One Life Stand you definitely won’t regret.
KEY TRACK: ‘SLUSH’