One Life Stand is Hot Chip’s fourth record release, a whole two years from 2008’s Made in the Dark. To be honest, his last release completely escaped me. I was, however, a very big fan of 2006’s The Warning which was full of hits I still listen to from time-to-time like “Over and Over” and “And I Was A Boy From School.”
Hot Chip is known for their not-too-fast, minimal electro-pop goodness without being too boring. You could play them at a dance party and people could jam without spilling their drinks. Not to mention the occasional falsetto vocals. The 10-track offering starts off with “Theives In the Night”, beaming in sonic rays of shimmer before dropping in some sparse percussion and echoing keyboard blips. The song fills out in pieces: first the vocals, a techno riff then the open-air handclaps. Add in some slick synths, light snares and you’ve almost got yourself a disco hit.
Ten years into their career, Hot Chip still knows how to have fun with their sound and create a deliberate listening experience. For example, “Hand Me Down Your Love” is very employs a heavily played piano [you can hear the little hammers striking the keys with brute force], a snare and hyper-compressed background vocals. At first the song sounds very contained and boxed-in but by the chorus it opens into a fuller, more breathable sound. I know the violins and lighter piano melody play a part, but the attentiveness to detail during production also lends to the layers of listening.
Standout tracks are “I Feel Better”, a pulsating song with falsetto vocals, countering melodies that float in and out of each other over a glitzy synth hook. “We Have Love” has the most upbeat tempo with an emphasis on percussion and keyboard blips layered under the density.
This album does have its slow moments [“Brothers” and “Slush”], but they’re easy to skip and continue on to a jam. If you like handclaps, synthesized instruments or just wish Boys Noize was a few notches less intense, you’ll enjoy this album.