One thing I have learnt from reading this blog for little over a year is that these Jewish brothers love rap. Scrolling down the right hand side of the page my expectations were supported by the frequency of the rappers in the post tags. The top 3 for the ‘One A Day’ blog: Kanye West (34), Eminem (23) and Jay Z (19). So with the gilded invitation to contribute to this blog, I thought I would mix it up with a genre and artist I thought had been grossly misrepresented: ‘geek white male electronica’ and Hot Chip.
(Hot Chip, by the by, have only been tagged once and LCD Soundsystem three times…)
Hot Chip is two words: bounce and sway. Their poptronic-house (if you add ‘punk’, ‘alternative’ or ‘indie’, you really do deserve to listen to Triple J the rest of your life) is the perfect background music for a Hemmes venue or the soundtrack for a torturous study session. That is, their music has catchy hooks and sing-a-long lyrics that blend into the background or demand presence in the foreground depending on your mood or flavour (for best result put some salt and drizzle some vinegar on your hot chips).
The Chip’s first album, Coming on Strong was a complete package. Their second, The Warning, included what I consider the third best pop song of the decade, ‘Over and Over’ (No. 2 being Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya!’ and No. 1, Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’). Meanwhile Hot Chip’s third effort, Made in the Dark, thrust the cult troupe into the BBC mainstream. If the band’s discographic progression were singly verbalised it would be thus; dancier, poppier, stronger.
BUT their fourth, One Life Stand (out February 2010), shows they are curving back towards the melancholy, reflective electro of The Warning.
The first, self-titled track off the album is intriguing. The lyrics will stay in your head, the beats will chase you down the street and the vocals will saunter in and out of your dreams. Why? Two elements – both in the chorus, both in contradiction.
Firstly, co-lead singer Joe Goddard’s choral call to action – “keep on feeling”. Not since Imogen Heap’s captivating entreat have I been so spellbound by a vocal. Especially when the vessel is a portly, middle-aged bearded man.
Secondly, the dirty synths that jump out after Alexis Taylor’s contribution to the chorus, which sounds like my little cousin playing the iPhone app, iSynth. I don’t know if one such app exists, if it does where can I find it? If it doesn’t I’m calling the patent.
When these two components clash at 2’40”, you may be befuddled. But as the second verse slides into place, all you yearn for is a return to the chorus. It is a largely forgettable song except for this idiosyncratic coupling, and it again proves Hot Chip are the masters of music that can dominate the foreground or slip beautifully into the background.
The video. Well I didn’t like Tim Burton’s re-vision of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so the fish eye warping with the candy walls get on my Pavlovian nerves. But, yet again, it showcases the physical unattractiveness of the band. As they awkwardly dance around their equipment they reveal, to me anyway, that this is the ballad that the geek-tronic among us would sing to their significant others. A love song for the hyperrealist electro-obsessed culture vultures.
Watch it and possibly trip out here.
Also, allow me to present to the jury a live clip of ‘Over and Over’. Perhaps the strongest evidence yet that, like LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip’s electronic layering demands respect. Especially from the blogs.
Hot Chip – ‘One Life Stand’ (Album Version)
Get yo head Hot Chipped right here.