Monday, June 11, 2012

Hot Chip: "In Our Heads" (album review)

Hot Chip have established themselves with a laid back electronic style that soothes and charms.  On their latest album, In Our Heads (out June 12th), the band take a slightly different approach.

The record kicks off with "Motion Sickness" a track that takes a fun update on the Pet Shop Boys' sound.  It's the look back at '80s techno pop that is a recurring theme on the In Our Heads.

The big fat beats of "How Do You Do" provide nothing to dissuade the retro comparisons, nor does the relentless drum machine of "Don't Deny Your Heart".  The dark and moody "These Chains" gives a nod to Goth-inspired pop.

The ultimate reference comes on "Let Me Be Him".  A chorus rife with 'whoa-oh-oh's sounds more than a little reminiscent of Baltimora.

As you would expect with Hot Chip, the nostalgic sound is more often fun than it is cheesy.  There are some exceptions however.  The album closer "Always Been Your Love" suffers from full-on schmaltz overload.

Despite the best intentions, "Look At Where We Are" awkwardly attempts to be smooth and soulful.  "Flutes" (without flutes) and "Now There Is Nothing" slip passed with hardly a notice.

It's a bit jarring to hear Hot Chip with a little more pep in their step, but it is good to hear them taking a slightly new direction.  While not everything is a winner, full marks should be given for the effort and willingness to stray from the safe and familiar.

Hot Chip play the Sound Academy in Toronto on July 15th.

Best tracks: "Let Me Be Him", "Don't Deny Your Heart"

Track listing for In Our Heads:
  • Motion Sickness
  • How Do You Do
  • Don't Deny Your Heart
  • Look At Where We Are
  • These Chains
  • Night and Day
  • Flutes
  • Now There Is Nothing
  • Ends of the Earth
  • Let Me Be Him
  • Always Been Your Love

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