Top positive review
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Kicking and screaming, Indie-inspired, electopop dance music
on 14 February 2008
There's always that danger when you first listen to an album and it sounds exactly like how you expected it to sound. That's not to say that Made in the Dark isn't a good album, on the contrary, it's a great album, full of all the lovable electronic pop charm we've come to expect from Hot Chip, but just don't expect another massive leap, like the one they pulled off between Coming on Strong and The Warning, now that was a grand canyon affair. This album, however, feels like a more polished version of the things they were doing on The Warning, with a few extra dynamics chucked in for good measure and heck, even the slower songs with their ballad like progression, such as, `We're Looking For A Lot Of Love' sound more comfortable this time round.
So where The Warning was a bit of a rough around the edges pop affair, Made in the Dark is a slick, well-produced, ambitious album. The melodies here are so infectious, at times even schizophrenic, that you can't fail to start head-nodding, toe-tapping etc. `Out at the Pictures' begins with a slowly ascending synth, some shrill electronics that whirl around faster and faster until the drum beat kicks in and before you know it, Alexis Taylor has begun singing `It's on every street/ It's funky, cheap/ Sometimes you find/ You're in your mind' in his charismatic croon and you're going pretty much full on. And lead single, `Ready for the Floor' is instantly memorable with its bouncing bass, and a soaring chorus that Kylie would be proud of. But that's the thing about Hot Chip, they're not afraid to be as pop as pop can be, like album highlight `One Pure Thought', which starts off with an infectious blend of jagged guitars, sentimental synths and disco beats.
How much you like this album though, may well depend on two things, firstly how much you can take of Hot Chip flaunting their offbeat brand of pop when perhaps being too self-consciously fanciful. `Bendable Opposable' and `Wrestlers' seem to be quirky for the sake of being quirky and may lack some of the panache of the other songs. And secondly, how much you can appreciate their downtempo `lighters in the air' ballads, like `The Privacy of a Love', which is so laid-back it almost falls into Norah Jones territory, but not quite, though at one point Taylor sings `In the privacy of our love/ We're in each other as hand in glove'.
What this album also shows is how the band have managed to turn Indie-inspired, electropop, dance music kicking and screaming on it's head and filled it with a dry charm, `I'm only going to heaven if it tastes like Caramel' sings Taylor on `Hold On'; a syrupy polish as found on a `Touch Too Much'; and an at times manic, bouncy bass-filled pop fantasia like `Shake a Fist' and `One Pure Thought', and at others a slow-burning Gospel affair, like title track, but above all it's an album filled with a capricious sense of fun and one that does credit to the bands quirky nature. It's not one to shy away from anytime soon.