Hot Chip – In Our Heads
Buy: In Our Heads
They’re now onto their fifth studio album – eight years on from their debut Coming On Strong – and the world at large is still pretty much ambivalent towards Hot Chip. ‘Aint they the ones who did that funny dance song about the monkey with a miniature cymbal?’ is about all you get if you drop their name into conversation – and on the strength of their output it’s all they deserve. After being lauded as the brightest and most inventive UK dance-pop act since the 80’s heyday of New Order, Depeche Mode and the rest, Hot Chip decided to go down the DFA route and concentrated on the rough-round-the edges sub-LCD Soundsystem approach to making music. Unfortunately, they were nowhere near cool enough to pull that off, and their last two albums Made In The Dark and One Life Stand pretty much passed by unnoticed.
In Our Heads seems like an attempt to address this and, as a result, is a slicker and more polished album. ‘Slick’ and ‘polished’, though. are more often than not synonyms for ‘soulless’ and ‘pedestrian’ – which is exactly what In Our Heads turns out to be. The album is overrun by smoothed down ‘dinner-party dance’ tracks that sound like they’re ripped straight from a Jamiroquai-curated Back To Mine album (a terrible thought, I know).
There are a few good points during In Our Heads though. Opener ’Motion Sickness’ is a solid and infectious electro-pop number, ’How Do You Do?’ is pure Damon Albarn-style melody driven pop and ’Look At Where We Are’ features a disarming vocal from Alexis Taylor: “Look at where we are / Remember where we started out / Never gonna be without each others love again…”
For the most part though, In Our Heads sounds like an album made by music geeks who have spent too long messing about in the studio instead of concentrating on why they’re in the studio in the first place.