Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hot Chip - Made in the Dark

Made in the Dark (CD) – Astralwerks

And now let us praise nonsensical men. Like fellow Brits Fujiya & Miyagi, Hot Chip make a living coupling occasionally silly lyrics to indecently catchy tunes. On their third album Made in the Dark, the supporting evidence most prominently includes "Wrestlers,” wherein the lads stitch wrestling references together to form a surprisingly mournful song with enough gravity to trick a tear to your eye. The descending piano scales and woo-woo background vocals contribute to this sleight of hand, but what really makes the song work is its underlying subtext: after all, this isn’t a song about wrestling; it’s about the narrator's combative relationship with his lover and his resulting emotional distance from her. And it’s still funny. Hot Chip run the gamut here, presenting dance-floor tremblers like the ironically entitled “Don’t Dance” and “One Pure Thought,” as well as wriggling Kraut-pop on “Bendable, Posable” or “Ready for the Floor.” They’ve also mastered some exquisite come-down tunes, including “We're Looking for a Lot of Love,” “Made in the Dark” and “Whistle for Will.” The band says this album was inspired as much by Willie Nelson and Richard and Linda Thompson as German techno. I believe it. They're also said to be headed to studio with legendary British musician Robert Wyatt to rerecord the title track. Now, that I can't wait to hear. – Robert Stribley

This review appears in the latest issue of Skyscraper Magazine, Issue 27 (Spring 2008)

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