This album review was written sometime in March or February, however, this album has proven to be one of my favorites for 2010 and it’s unlike what we’ve been mostly bombarded with on the radio. I really hope you give it a listen after you read this review. Enjoy 🙂
British electro-rock connoisseurs Hot Chip have been leaving their distinguished mark on the music world for the past decade. It is with their new release “One Life Stand,” however, that they really cement their standing as a band that can combine the latest technologies, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, and melodic voices in one album. Though the use of auto-tune is greatly obvious, it serves a point here, unlike with the rest of the music being made available to the public at the moment.
Born out of the concept of transforming “a one night stand into a one life stand,” as vocalist Alexis Taylor has put it, the band’s fourth release dabbles with issues of commitment and long-term relationships, be it romantic or non-romantic ones. The overall theme is delivered beautifully thanks to ingenious lyric-writing and Taylor’s smooth high-pitched vocals combined with second vocalist Joe Goddard’s dreamy bass voice. The carefully tailored instrumental part, courtesy of the rest of the group, serves as a plus point for the band.
The album opens with a steady percussion beat, before Taylor begins to sing the first verse of “Thieves in the Night,” a song that deals with finding the love of a lifetime and hanging onto them, especially after the long search. The key verse in the song “happiness is what we all want” is something everyone can relate to and it is highlighted by the very upbeat background music.
Second track “Hand Me down Your Love” has a distinct jazzy feel to it with very simplistic and repetitive lyrics, making it easier for the listener to remember this when going through the record. It continues the theme that was established in its predecessor, ensuring cohesion.
My personally favorite track of the whole record comes in the form of “I Feel Better,” the album’s third song and second single. It opens up with a string arrangement with faint percussions. As Taylor and Goddard sing the first verse together, their vocals are auto-tuned, though the delivery is excellent. When Taylor sings the first chorus, starting with “I only want one life, together in our arms,” the string element is more prominent, before segwaying into an almost Latin beat that will make anyone get up and dance. It is certainly a track that one will repeat several times especially since it evokes instant association with loved ones.
The video clip is no short of hilarious moments and pokes fun of boy bands, their choreography, and the wildly cheering female fans. You can watch it here:
“One Life Stand,” the first single is fourth on the tracklist and is partially harmed by coming after a distinct song like “I Feel Better.” It should not be underestimated though as it sets the whole theme into focus, combines the work of both vocalists, and has a catchy beat that almost all DJs should learn a thing or two from.
The element of non-romantic love manifests in the fifth song, aptly titled “Brothers.” On this track, Goddard sings an ode to his brothers and all the things he used to do with them, including playing X-box, but it is also a call to return to what used to be.
“Slush” is a return to the romantic element, set to the slowest music on the entire album. There are virtually no electronic elements used, giving the song a pure sound. “Keep Quiet,” the ninth track, follows the same vein. “Alley Cats” is also distinct for having the most pensive lyrics, alluding to several aspects such as romance and motherly love. Goddard provides lead vocals here while Taylor sings harmonies.
The focus on the melody and the ability to make people dance is placed heavily in track eight, “We Have Love.” It is predicted that this song will be played at parties all over the world, thanks to its catchy instrumental arrangement.
The album ends with “Take It In,” the ultimate ode to acceptance and love. It is not a slow song by any means, distinguishing it from the typical closing track found on other albums.
This album is certainly recommended for lovers of dance music but also to people wanting to expand their horizons and listen to something unusually thoughtful.