Hot Chip – One Life Stand Hot Chip – One Life Stand

Hot Chip - One Life StandIt has always seemed to me that Hot Chip are a band that are often overlooked. Their first album “Coming On Strong”, whilst hinting at catchy pop sensibilities served mainly to create an impression of nerdy music geeks making bedroom electro. It was 2006’s “The Warning” that remains the album for which Hot Chip will be remembered. Finding breakthrough singles and a brilliant signature sound in songs like “And I Was A Boy From School” and “Over and Over”, they managed to make a near flawless electronic album. 2008’s “Made In The Dark” also spawned several radio hits.

When you look at it in perspective though, there’s a lot more miss than hit. If one was to go further, Hot Chip’s career could even be described as scattershot. A fragile debut, a breakthrough album that was so close to being a classic, a limp follow up, and now the frustrating “One Life Stand”.

There are great moments on here, though. Brilliant opener “Thieves In The Night” takes things straight back to the 80’s, synths building steadily in the background, before breaking away to that epic, emotional chorus; “Happiness is what we all want/ May it be that we don’t always want”. And more focus has clearly been paid to lyrical content this time round. Take the steady “Hand Me Down Your Love(‘s)” heartfelt apex, “I’ve known for a long time/ You are my love light” It’s a touching moment, but it would need to be. Saying “Hand me down your love” times eight does not a good verse make.

They’ve got their catchy single here, too. And after its recent exposure and having listened to this album several times, to it’s credit it still hasn’t got annoying yet. The throbbing “One Life Stand” shows a moodier side to the chip, and showcases the albums’ catchiest moment.

And on to the not so successful moments. “I Feel Better” distorts Joe Goddard’s warm vocals to an annoying degree, as if the cringe worthy 80’s string arrangements weren’t bad enough. Furthermore, Alexis Taylor does a lot better on “One Life Stand” than Joe Goddard, who normally provides a welcome contrast (And I Was A Boy From School, The Warning). It is very much Taylor’s show.

Another misguided effort is the contrived “Brothers”, discussing and celebrating male connection. Again it’s Goddards attempts that come off as awkward, “It’s a wild love that I have/ It’s a wild love that I have for my brothers” whilst Taylor lifts it from an introspective sob-fest to a soaring plea, “We should be together now/ My brothers”

“Slush” is awful, and sadly appropriately named. With what we’ve seen Hot Chip produce in the past there isn’t much excuse for whimsical nonsense of this sort. Similarly, “Keep Quiet” has no reason to be on here. “We Have Love” confuses, mainly because it sounds more like a Hot Chip remix than a Hot Chip song. A chipmunk vocal sample and a wobbly bassline? Save the Dubstep project for another album, lads.

It leads to frustrating results. The good bits on this album aren’t clutches at straws; they really are among the band’s best works to date. Which makes it all the more maddening when the impressive “Take It In” plays the album out- perhaps it’s time to accept that Hot Chip are a great singles band; a great album just isn’t going to happen.

Hot Chip - One Life Stand, reviewed by Lemon on 2010-02-25T17:23:58-08:00 rating 3.3 out of 5

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