Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ready For the Floor

Song: Ready For the Floor
Artist: Hot Chip
Album: Made in the Dark

Here’s a band that just seems to be getting better. Hot Chip’s debut, 2004’s “Coming On Strong” had its moments, yet it was so joke-y, very hard to take seriously. And while they have never shaken that goofiness, their sophomore follow-up “The Warning” (2006) showed that they were more than a joke band. “Over and Over” was a track that immediately drew you in, and built percussion on top of percussion to a true pop sing-a-long moment. But for me, it was “And I Was a Boy From School,” which had equal parts catchy electronic-dance and pure emotion. It was quite beautiful, and a great rhythmic track… and the geek-ish vocals of Alexis Taylor perfectly suite their vibe. Hot Chip seem to want to be many things, or try many things musically. Beat wise they are doing things that are Chemical Brothers worthy, yet they have a deep affinity for R&B, be it Prince or R. Kelly.

While it might seem like a touch of more of the same, the bands third record “Made in the Dark” is better in every way. It seems that they’ve figured out their strengths and where they do best as a band. So we have an album of killer dance tracks, met with genuine slow jams that are both musically interesting, and emotionally true. Actually, to call this “more of the same” is completely not fair… it’s just Hot Chip writing a superb new collection of songs.

First single “Shake a Fist” is an attention getter. After a slow build of driving percussion and random blips coupled with Alexis’ stuttered vocals, the song suddenly stops completely and then explodes with crazy video game noise. Before you can turn to your friend and say “What the…?” big beats take you over and you’re dancing. It’s a crazy track, that swerves here and there, but utterly enjoyable. Even better is the following track and current single “Ready For the Floor.” Here we have a song that sounds like a lost 80’s classic… almost. It’s a bit Pet Shop Boys-ish, quite sweet and warm. It’s the song that should give them some crossover potential, and proof positive that these guys deserve a bigger audience. Awesome.

There are some earnest ballads here too that are musically interesting, “We’re Looking For a Lot Of Love” takes you to synth-organ lead church with a laid back beat and soothing vocals, and yet… is it a Nicolette Larson joke? Even better is the title track, which is a piano assisted, full of soul, break-up track. It sounds almost classic… and would more so if you hadn’t written Hot Chip off just a little as geeky pranksters.

This is one you don’t want to miss.


Ready For the Floor

Shake a Fist (Audio Only)

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