MIMO - When Music is Your Fix

Hot Chip Lets Us Into Their Heads

Domino (2012)

For over a decade, British electronic synth-pop band Hot Chip has flirted with the edges of big-time success. Part of it, in my opinion, is that while they appear to be genuinely talented, they haven’t been too good at first impressions. Chalk it up to their collective off-beat sense of humor, perhaps, but between their occasional cartoonish mixes and the unfortunate imagery of videos like “I Feel Better,” it’s been sometimes difficult to take them too seriously.

Their latest studio release In Our Heads should hopefully remedy that—that is, if they don’t sabotage themselves in the process.

What do I mean by that? Case in point regarding the “first impressions” remark made earlier: the album’s first single, “Night and Day.” It’s the only real throw-away song on the album, a collection of sonic ridiculousness that the album could really have done without—yet here it is, the album’s official “calling card.” (Really, guys? You put the worst song up first?) It’s enough to reinforce the band’s caricature image; you can almost hear the critics saying, “Oh, well…here we go again.”

Thankfully (and mercifully), if you can get past the fiasco of that first single, the rest of the album comprises some of Hot Chip’s finest and most mature work to date. The tone of the record strikes a near-perfect blend between the playfulness of their earlier work and the emotiveness of One Life Stand, resulting in a collection of songs that are reflective and danceable all at once. High points on the record include the catchy, disco-influenced “How Do You Do?”, the haunting “These Chains,” and the seven-minute-long “Flutes.”

If these guys would get out of their own way once in awhile, a lot more people would see what Hot Chip is capable of as a band. Overall, In Our Heads gives me hope that that day is closer at hand.

ALBUM RATING: 3.5 Stars (out of five)


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Tim Ferrar's interest in pop and rock started as a child, listening to Top-40 radio for hours on end while playing air guitar in his bedroom. Eventually air guitar led to electric guitar, and Tim began playing in bands and writing his own songs. With an admitted weakness for "a great hook or a great guitar riff," Tim's musical tastes are broad and varied, ranging from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga on the pop side to Bon Jovi and Foo Fighters on the rock side- making him the ideal guy to cover our Rock and Pop categories. By day, Tim is a mild-mannered accountant in Chicago. By night, he rocks out on electric guitar in a cover band in various clubs around town- much to the surprise of some of his clients.

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Posted in: Pop Music


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