Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Made in the Dark

Why are all my favourite dance acts going soft? First Underworld stunned me by putting out the seriously mellow Oblivion With Bells last year. And now electro-pop stars Hot Chip underwhelm me with their latest, ballad-filled disc, Made in the Dark. What’s next? The Basement Jaxx lounge CD?
     Hot Chip’s new record, unlike Underworld’s flop, isn’t a complete write-off, but it is a misstep, as the band fails in their attempt to mix the beat-heavy tracks they’re known for with a more sensitive songwriting style. Four — yes, four — ballads stick out, with titles like, “In the Privacy of Our Love” and “We’re Looking for a Lot of Love” (the latter, a fairly decent, more midtempo number). It’s hard to believe this is the same band that dabbled in hooliganism on their last record, The Warning, and its fuck-you title track (“Hot Chip will break your legs / Snap off your head / Hot Chip will put you down / Under the ground.”)
     With the exception of first single “Shake a Fist” (ah, there’s the hooliganism) and the rollicking “One Pure Thought,” even the faster numbers seem a gear too slow. All in all, more lukewarm than hot. C+
Hot Chip: We’re Looking for a Lot of Love (mp3)
Hot Chip: Shake a Fist (mp3)

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