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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 23 January 2008
Lucky enough to get a chance to listen to a preview copy and think this is definitely better than The Warning, which itself was a cracking album. Much more listenable and with more stand out tunes than its predecessor, this album gets so much better the more you listen to it. On initial hearing I wasn't sure about this, but with every play the album improves. Some of the album's songs are amongst the best Hot Chip have produced. Lyrically obscure and with very little meaning at times, this does not diminish from the quality on offer. Favourites include "We Re Looking for a Lot of Love" which has a start reminiscent of Fix You by Coldplay (don't let that detract from it). This is a cracking ode to a loved one. The opening single "Ready for the Floor" is instantly memorable, "Shake a Fist" , "Touch too Much" and "One Pure Thought" all share fantastic production and are dance-orientated. Overall this is an album to be listened to at least 10 times before you can seriously have an opinion. It contains a real mixture of styles & songs and shows how Hot Chip are becoming one of the nation's musical national treasures. I've already been on the blower to get odds for them to win the Mercury Music Prize with this. Anything around 10/1 would be a steal.
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Personally, I've never been happy with most electropop and dance music -- they take a beat, repeat it for five-to-ten minutes, and add in some lame lyrics about dancing. No thank you.

But after two albums of doing the exact opposite, Hot Chip.... are STILL not doing it in their third full-length album, "Made in the Dark." Instead, they sound even quirkier and wilder, and their songs are crammed with deliciously tight electropop, some wild flourishes and beats, and occasionally... a soft little reflective pop ballad.

"It's on every street/It's funky, cheap... Are you at the pictures?/Or out at sea?/It's better this way/Trust, do you believe me?," Alexis Taylor sings over a funky, angular melody. But the mind-bending really sets in with "Shake A Fist," a dark rhythmic pop song that mutates halfway through into a colourful, insane tangle of jabbing synth.

Apparently Hot Chip are aware that their audiences' brains might explode with more songs like that. So after the warm, catchy electropop of "Ready for the Floor," they try some easier fare -- clattery rock'n'roll, razor-edged electronica, rambling electropop tied in twisting rock riffs, and a shimmying electropopper that evolves into a shimmering... video game theme. Yeah, that's what it sounds like.

And there are a couple softer songs woven in there -- a gently catchy ballad wound in twitters and streams of synth, little soft ballads, and the closing song "Whistle For Will," which is all echoing synth and solemn piano.

There was obviously a lot of time and care taken with "Made in the Dark," because this album has few -- if any -- weak spots. In fact, the only one I can really take issue with is "Bendable Poseable," for its schizophrenically catchy sound -- and even then, I strongly suspect that Hot Chip intended for it to sound that way.

Their music is all tight, dancey, sharp-edged melodies from blazing electric guitars, shimmering twisting synthesizers, and some sharp drums to set the beat. Just about any one of them will get you bouncing in your chair. And Taylor plays some really beautiful, poignant piano melodies in the ballads, strung with softer, less dancey synth.

But rather than letting the catchiness carry the songs, they throw in some odd twists -- chants of "weather," horns, wind chimes, twists of jabbing synth, and a monologue (""Before we go any further I'd like to show you all a game I made up...."). You can never predict how these songs are going to go.

And Taylor sounds like he's having a GREAT time -- he can turn his quirky voice into the core of a dance song, or he can sing a low, soulful ballad. And he sings songs that are usually solid -- with a few odd moments ("I'm only going to heaven if it tastes like caramel") -- with the occasional lyrical brilliance ("I've never seen your love again/I'll never be your love for sure/Except for that day.... except for that day...").

Hot Chip astounds with the blindingly catchy, brilliantly complex "Made in the Dark" -- they keep polishing their music, and it just keeps getting better and better.
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on 5 February 2008
I don't know about everyone else but hot chip's album "coming on strong" was at best, Awful far too mellow it is like barry white backing tracks with sub par singing, however things have moved up with "The Warning", i was never a fan of the real offbeat electronic stuff but by the time of this album they have moved into their own fantastic album i really can't fault it slightly the singing at times is beautiful with little subtle variations in tone and you can really tell how funky they can find themselves look forward to the upbeat crazy "shake a fist", their new single "ready for the floor" of which you should check out the Soulwax remix, other fantastic tracks include one pure thought which has a deep rhythm and softness, "hold on" and "don't dance" which is near impossible not to dance to, in short one fantastic album defiantly their best lively, chilling and romantic. Looking forward to seeing them again it should be a new experience thats how much this album is worth getting.
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Hot Chip add Robert Wyatt to the list of music legends they have collaborated with (having previously remixed Kraftwerk).

According to the sleeve, these 4 tracks are remixes by Robert Wyatt (and "Geese", whoever they may be?), whereas the group's website states that they are re-recorded versions. They SOUND like re-recorded versions but either way this is a great EP. Wyatt adds vocals ("duetting" with Alexis Taylor) and instrumentation and makes the songs his own (I can think of no higher compliment). The last two tracks have some additional electronic enhancements and something that sounds like a kora - not at all what you'd expect on a Hot Chip record but it really works.

Overall a much more downbeat vibe than "Made in the Dark" but it just serves to highlight the strength of the song writing on that album - both lyrically and melodically.

So why is this limited to just 500 copies for the world then? Maybe it's a Christmas present for their fans - which no doubt their fans will treasure - but it has so much more potential than that. No doubt the late John Peel would have earmarked this for heavy rotation.

Belated single of the year 2008.
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on 4 February 2008
I'd been looking forward to hearing this album after hearing Hot Chip play some of the new tracks at the 2007 Hay Festival, back in May 2007... I'd agree with the first reviewer that this is possibly a better album than The Warning - which in itself was excellent. Its a proper grower of an album, first time I played it through I wasn't sure, but after its second airing its been looping non-stop today! Overall, its feels slightly more energetic, up-tempo, funky beats sound than The Warning, with superb manipulation of analogue sounds, the usual gibberish Kraftwerk-hommage lyrics (including a smattering of German, if my GCSE memory serves). A lot of the songs borrow heavily from history (but in a good way), and in some respects, the album leaves an impression akin to a 2manydjs mash-up / Soulwax mixes - which is probably not surprising since Soulwax remixed Ready for Floor. Overall - a great warm-up album for a night out.
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on 13 April 2011
Hot Chip are easily one of my favourite groups, but they're not without their flaws. This album, their third, is their most experimental. It pays off at times (Ready For the Floor), but there are places where it gets a bit too strange even for my liking (Shake a Fist). There is the odd moment of epicness (Touch Too Much), and even a good laugh (Wrestlers). Of course there are one or two ballads that also stand out (Whistle for Will). However, their fourth album, One Life Stand, has far more memorable moments (Thieves in the Night, One Life Stand, Alley Cats, We Have Love), and their second, the Warning, is an absolute classic (Boy in School, Over and Over, Look After Me, Arrest Yourself). But while Made in the Dark remains their weakest album, it's still good to listen to on occasion.
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on 19 February 2008
Hot Chip return to a scene with high hopes for their third LP, distinctly new territory from that encountered when releasing 2006's Mercury-nominated The Warning. That album was released to an audience largley unaware of their charms. Signing to DFA probably helped in the hipster stakes, but the massive expectancy surrounding Made in the Dark can largely be attributed to two huge singles: Over and Over and Boy From School. These two great tracks helped mask some of their parent album's weaknesses: length, derivation and oh-so-clever lyrical flourishes.

Made in the Dark shares some of those weaknesses, certainly the album is a few tracks too long. Strange too, is the proliferation of slower tracks. Not all of them are bad, the title track is a sweet soul number, with a vocal playing to Alexis Taylor's fragile delivery. In complete contrast, the record comes out of the traps at a breathless pace. Out At The Pictures and the two advance singles, Shake A Fist and Ready For The Floor are frenetic, itchy tunes; the kind of thing that the group does so well. I still have a problem with the middle of Shake A Fist, a little too much on the `cool' side for me. Of course, Shake A Fist finishes brilliantly with a fantastic menacing synth rush.

Hold On is one of the LP's highlights, conforming to the scratchy guitar and disco bass formula, extending it with funk rhythms: as if they have been learning about building great dance tracks from their US label boss, James Murphy. Hold On props up the second half of the record, much as No Fit State did on The Warning. When Hot Chip fail, they do spectacularly: Wrestlers and Bendable Poseable are just poor, both suffering from weak production and questionable lyrics: does anyone need a song made up of wrestling terminology? Certainly, Wrestlers particularly contributes to the second half slump, common to the three LPs they have released thus far.

Which is a shame, as when Hot Chip are on form they are a great band. Indeed, there is much to like about Made in the Dark, especially the first half. I'm sure that Taylor and Goddard are aware of what people see Hot Chip's strength as, and respect to them for attempting something different, something that bodes well for a productive future. That doesn't help the feeling that they could have done better with this record, especially given the anticipation surrounding it and their obvious continued potential.
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Catchy, Original, Punchy and infectious.

Mix of eclectic beats and sounds, which will intrigue, with brilliantly fun and foot tapping tunes - as well as a couple of more laid back songs.
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on 6 October 2014
Bought this for my girlfriend as shes been looking for the 'shiney' version of the cover for ages. She was delighted when this was wrapped up at xmas last year.

Still in its cellophane, but she's happy so I can't complain.
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