Review Summary: Hot Chip manage to create an album with the same fun, carefree vibe as always. Unfortunately, everything done right on the album goes awry quicker than you can say, "What's that giant head doing on the cover?"
Quirkiness is a funny quality. I mean seriously, attach that label to music and attention will be paid- I guarantee you. This undoubtedly stems from what most eager music listeners strive for: something different, but not too far out of their comfort zone. Hot Chip fills this description fairly well. The dance-oriented band from the United Kingdom has been considered catchy enough for the mainstream, but still satisfying for the more refined tastes of electronic enthusiasts (for something fun, at least). Hot Chip possess that “quirky” quality- a little hard to define, but definitely that ONE song or sound that sends your radar off a little. One Life Stand
is satisfying in this sense. It leaves you with a little grin and your head bobbing whether you’re that audiophile with the Autechre discography or whether you’re my little sister. That being said, don’t expect anything even close to consistency, because once again Hot Chip fails in this paramount aspect.
On One Life Stand
, Hot Chip don’t hide their melodies away, they’re up front and in-you-face. Don’t take my word for it, listen to the first two songs which display this point beautifully. “Thieves In the Night” establishes a strong point for the “dance-pop” extraordinaires to build upon. Heavily reliant on synthesizers, the song builds for a whopping six minutes on top of Alexis Taylor’s plodding voice. “Hand Me Down Your Love” takes the torch and runs with it, and Taylor stretches his vocal range a little, with some nice computerized backing vocals. The beats are certainly competent, and the bass plays a more significant role than on any of Hot Chip’s previous.
Speaking of a comparison to their past... well, let’s just say they this doesn’t come all that close to The Warning
. Hot Chip attempts to stay more focused here, and it’s really a shame this move in the right direction doesn’t necessarily pay off in consistency. Hot Chips manages to keep my head bouncing all the way up through “One Life Stand.” A dark, thumping, fuzzy, hook-laden song is just what the doctor ordered, and this is easily Hot Chip’s magnus opus since “Ready For the Floor.” The glorious medley of beats is entrancing and electrifying at the same time.
The downside to “One Life Stand,” though, is that afterwards One Life Stand
takes a steep fall and suffers a fairly cataclysmic injury. “Brothers” and “Slush” sound like Hot Chip wallowing in their misery, unable to produce anything near as exciting as the first half of the album. “We have Love” displays the band merely getting a bit annoying, and by “Keep Quiet” I’ve lost most of my interest. Fortunately, Hot Chip doesn’t completely self-destruct and manage to redeem themselves with a listenable, cathy closer- “Take It In.”
Well... One Life Stand
certainly has its fair share of ups and downs, but is it worth it? Well, if your looking for a thumpingly-fun time that lasts about 4 songs, then Hot Chip should be on your to-listen-to list for sure. “Thieves In the Night” and “One Life Stand” especially have a great combination of replay-value AND make fantastic singles. When Hot Chip hit it right with their catchy hooks, they don’t hold back. And that quality of quirkiness, where Hot Chip infuses One Life Stand
with the right combination of beats and melodies to create something that hits you a little differently, is usually
hard to argue with. Unfortunately, One Life Stand
does mark another inconsistent release from Hot Chip; not in the sense of electicness like Made In the Dark
, but rather in terms of quality. That being said, do your self a favor and listen to the first half of this- you know, only if you like being happy, or dancing, or loving life.