Monday, July 9th, 2012
Look At Where We Are
Review of Hot Chip’s In Our Heads and giveaway
Steve GullickIt’s a bit strange to get into a band with what turns out to be a stylistic outlier, but that’s apparently what happened with me and Hot Chip. I liked bits of their first three albums but wouldn’t have counted myself a fan until 2010’s One Life Stand brought me into the fold with its more soulful angle on the distinctive Hot Chip sound. It was only relatively different from its predecessors – the Londoner’s template of cerebral, slightly nebbish, yet eminently danceable electro-pop was wholly intact – but with a more emotional dimension than they’d previously explored. Some didn’t like it as much; I liked it more.
So yeah, the “return to form” comments that have accompanied their just-released In Our Heads got my back up a little bit; who said that Hot Chip needed to return to any particular form? Why couldn’t they simply forge ahead in a new direction? And then I spent a little time with Heads and decided that maybe it wasn’t so important where it went on the plot of their creative trajectory – it’s a good record that manages to maintain much of the songwriting growth evidenced in One Life Stand, just folded back into their old sound, and more importantly, I didn’t like them any less for it.
Indeed, it’s hard to get off on the wrong foot with an opener as strong as “Motion Sickness” and while Heads is largely Hot Chip by numbers (I spent a little while clicking through my iTunes to try and find which of their older songs the opening of “Let Me Be Him” is a carbon copy of and while I didn’t find it, I know it’s out there), that still means it’s an upbeat collection of dancefloor-ready tunes with the requisite number of ballads and epics. If there’s a downside to this, it’s that there’s not much on Heads likely to elicit the same sort of strong reactions – positive or negative – that Life did, nor is there much for their next record to react against. Maybe the best thing about Heads – besides giving us “Night & Day” and “Flutes” – is that odds are by the time Hot Chip returns to the studio, they’ll be creatively restless enough again to try something new.
Hot Chip are in town at the Sound Academy next Sunday night, July 15, and courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want Hot Chip” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that in to me before midnight, July 12.
It’s not another “Country House” or “Coffee & TV”, but the studio performance that Blur have released as a video for their new single is still alright.
Video: Blur – “Under The Westway”
Neil Halstead has gotten in the Wimbledon spirit and released a tennis-themed tune which will be available as a bonus 7″ for those who buy his new solo record Palindrome Hunches at independent retailers when it goes on sale on September 11. It’s available to stream now.
V Magazine gathers together Grimes, Charli XCX, and Sky Ferreira for a photoshoot and some career advice from Genesis P-Orridge, Geri Halliwell, and Elton John respectively. Grimes is at Fort York this coming Friday, July 13, and Chari XCX there on August 4.
Ladyhawke’s press circuit in support of Anxiety has hit Australia, as evidenced by feature pieces in FasterLouder, The Maitland Mercury, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Loud & Quiet, and The Canberra Times.