Hot Chip
Why Make Sense?


3.5
great

Review

by Vincent A. USER (11 Reviews)
May 19th, 2015 | 11 replies


Release Date: 05/18/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hot Chip's latest release is equal parts sentiment and movement; an ambivalent dance record that remains inside the genre while also reflecting on it.

Why Make Sense? is a dance record, no question about it. But it feels at times like its unsure of whether it wants to be one at all; perhaps it’s because “dance” and “popular” music are in many circles considered to be composed of the same makeup and sometimes troublesome associative characteristics: vacuous, empty, fun, mindless, etc. If music asks us to move, it can’t ask us to think or feel.

But Hot Chip’s latest record (and their robust discography) plays out like a well thought out response to this misnomer. Movement has a purpose here beyond escapism – it’s a window to sentiment, a reflection of feelings. The dance floor on display in Why Make Sense? is a reluctant one, a view of the action from the perspective of the guy propped up against the wall, or drunkenly slouched over the club bar, where everything can be carefully considered from a distance.

At times, Why Make Sense? bumps its way through the crowd and finds itself in the middle of things, like on opener “Huarache Lights.” It’s a rare moment for the record – one of genuine anticipation for what the night has to offer. Lead vocalist Alex Taylor croons: “When I see the beams of / Those Huarache lights / I know every single thing / Will be just right.” Each synth wobble and vocal sample is stripped of its melancholy, building their way to an anthemic drive to the dance floor. A banger in the truest sense, it’s the album’s brightest moment and among the years best songs.

But as the record progresses it settles itself into a different zone – one somewhere between night and the quickly approaching reality of the morning light. It’s afraid to fully commit to celebration, stuck in a liminal space where sounds of melancholy meet sounds of affirmation, where reluctant lyrics meet vocal samples that inspire movement. When it works, it really works – like on “Need You Now,” where a charming vocal sample and bobbing keys propel the song forward while Taylor reminds us to stay in place with his lyrics; “And if we try to stand alone / We’ll be playing with a force beyond control.” Or like the last minute of “Easy to Get,” where the song transitions from a James Murphy-esque dance pop track to a haunted symphony of downtrodden keys. The record is packed with moments of subtle brilliance, and even when it manages to occasionally get a little stale, it often finds its way back to a sonically interesting place.

That’s not to the say the record doesn’t occasionally lose its way. On tracks like “White and Fried Chicken” and “Dark Night,” Hot Chip does their best even-more-boring-and-standard-version-of-Broken-Bells impression. The further they move away from the constructs of dance and toward the played-out aesthetic of disco influenced indie-pop, the more the record becomes cliched and compromised with the trivialities of contemporary indie. It’s an aesthetic that’s not always there, but it is there nonetheless, and it leaves a bad taste in the record’s mouth.

In an interview with The Independent, band member Joe Goddard spoke on the effect that an over reliance of computers has had on contemporary music, noting that “a lot of the time it squeezes the humanity out of music,”. This fear of a lack of humanity can be noted all over the album – Hot Chip consciously bring sentiment to the forefront, creating music that inspires the listener to move and feel. For the most part, “Why Make Sense?” is an achievement on both fronts.



Recent reviews by this author
Real Estate AtlasArcade Fire Her
Sky Ferreira Night Time, My TimeArcade Fire Reflektor
Four Tet Beautiful RewindRyan Hemsworth Guilt Trips
user ratings (62)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Goldfinch13 (4)
Forget my limitations...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Pavelboca
May 19th 2015


83 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Okay, so someone tell me if I'm out of line here:



this article was originally posted on: http://swamprecords.tumblr.com/



a site I'm currently contributing too. I would like to repost my reviews here because I am looking for more feedback and exposure for my reviews and writing.



I've seen this done before on the site, and Swamp Records is okay with it, but what is Sputnik's policy on this type of deal?

Ryus
May 19th 2015


15413 Comments


yeah plenty of people do it, you're all good dude

Digging: King Krule - The OOZ

NorthernSkylark
May 19th 2015


8664 Comments


aber warum?

Digging: Cindy Lee - Act of Tenderness

NorthernSkylark
May 19th 2015


8664 Comments


just kidding, will check pos

DrJohn
May 19th 2015


1041 Comments


I've checked "Huarache Lights"... not my thing really. The review is very nicely penned though, pos.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
May 19th 2015


13224 Comments


Good review, posd

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle - Marked For Death

Brostep
Emeritus
May 19th 2015


4313 Comments


Nice to see you back dude, missed your stuff. Yeah, it's fine if you're a user, but if you're looking to get promo'd then just know that contribs/staff can't repost content. IIRC the rule is in place bc if there's the same content on multiple sites then it gets lower standing on search engines, which is fine but not encouraged

anobsoletevernacular
May 20th 2015


257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review. Album was a bit of a let down, but still great all around

Digging: Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice

Tunaboy45
May 23rd 2015


15521 Comments


I like the idea of having a unique sleeve (for the first 120,000)

Nrap
May 27th 2015


395 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty meh album to me. maybe needs more time.

LordePots
February 21st 2016


37833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this was legitimately surprisingly fun.

Digging: Kitty - Miami Garden Club



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy