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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Fledgling UK electropop band Hot Chip have found greater success with their second album, "The Warning," but thankfully have not sold their souls to do so.

This sophomore album is simply exploding with experiments and ideas, so much so that an otherwise amazing album gets a little drippy around the edges. Give them a few more years, and Hot Chip will be blowing our minds with the bravest, wildest electronica. For the moment, they're still trying their wings.

It opens with the retro drones of "Careful," right before the song suddenly settles into a more expansive little groove. It sounds torn between retro synth and the artier edges that they are so, so good at. They stabilize their sound somewhat in "And I Was A Boy From School," with its steady beats and catchy little melody.

From there on, Hot Chip experiments with just about any sound that electropop can include -- airy little ballads, hip-hoppish dance music, delicate beats like something from Telepopmusik, grimy robot rock, twinkly little art tunes, and some Kraftwerk-inspired techno. In other words, they will twist those amazing art beats into... anything, really.

Not many bands can do EVERY kind of music with more or less successful results, but Hot Chip is pretty good at all kinds of music. The only problem is that they seem to be a bit torn between the popular retro sound, and the more out-there art sounds. In songs like "Careful," it feels awkward and unbalanced.

But once they work the kinks out of that, Hot Chip will probably have few musical flaws at all. They have a knack for putting the right beats in the right places, and excel at deceptively simple melodies that never stop being catchy -- even the quieter ones can draw you in and make you mumble the words.

They also know just how much to pack into a single song: the beats are heavy and rough, or delicate and crystalline. Glimmering synths, spurts of bass, funky melodies, buzzes, horns, sonic squiggling, and other sounds spice up the music. Plenty of artier moments, without losing that catchy dancey beat.

Alexis Taylor sounds a bit like Benjamin Gibbard, with his mellow vocals and somewhat downbeat attitude. At first he seems almost nebulous on his own album, but he stands out more and more as you listen to him murmur about balloons, colours, and "Look after me and i will look after you/that's something we both forgot to do...."

Since they have been nominated for a Mercury Award, expect Hot Chip to be more prominent than before, and hopefully they'll have plenty of time to get even better than they already are.
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on 6 January 2007
Genre-bending Hot Chip have not only released some of the singles of the year but possibly its best album. As with Gorillaz and Gnarls Barkley recently, mid-way into the 'noughties' we are starting to see some real wit and invention in pop music that may come to define the decade. The Warning finds them putting heart and soul into their curious mish-mash of folk whimsy, house and electronica. For all the sonics and low-fi trickery, and the comedy lyrics, there is beauty and genuinity shining throughout. Their songs are unconventionally tangential, with phases and subtexts, but pulled off with a playful insouciance that belies some of the technical brilliance.

After the abrasive aural assault of the opener 'Careful' is the brilliant single 'And I was a boy from school'. Its folksy swoon and off-beat lyrics are delivered over cheekily Balearic, Daft Punk-esque house loops to fantastic effect. Colours is a sweet, gracefully-building ballad with lovely twinkly electronic embellishments. The one-of-a-kind dancefloor masterpiece Over and Over is an obvious highlight and needs no introduction here, while (Just Like We) Breakdown is the kind of emotive electronic pop that Junior Boys might make if they had a little funk (and some backbone). The infectious but deeply silly 'Tchaparian' describes drunken flights over Timbaland electro-funk, but its multiple parts are jarringly uneven where its neighbouring tracks sustain their moods more economically. Look After Me is a soulful accoustic ballad, which totally gets away with its cheeky soppiness, while title track threatens to "break your legs, snap off your head" over a celestial groove.

Signed to DFA in the States, this album will inevitably draw comparisons between Hot Chip and the massively overrated LCD Soundsystem. But where James Murphy tries to beat you over the head with molten lumps of irony and knowingly "cool" musical referencing, Hot Chip win you over with charm and an English pop sense (of humour) and sensibility. Hot Chip don't take themselves too seriously, and it is this disarming humililty that makes them "cooler" than James Murphy could ever dream of. Fantastic.
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on 4 May 2006
I think this could do it for them. They've progressed leaps and bounds from the intriguingly skewed but slightly amateurish palate of Coming On Strong to create something altogether more profound.

There are no weak tracks here, and the sound as a whole is rich and warm, with delicious bleeps and washes of synth meshing wonderfully with the octave-apart double vocals. Highlights? The gorgeous, pining melody of And I Was A Boy From School, the impossibly fun *hit* single Over And Over, the cheeky beats and lyrics of the title track and the soothing and beautiful soon-to-be-come-down-classic So Glad To See You are all pretty flawless, but the whole album is full of delights.

"This is a warning, I'll spell it out for you"- Hot Chip's sound is refreshing and unique, and if there's any justice 2006 will see them hit the big time. Nice one boys.
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on 25 May 2006
Hot Chip are a very strange band. They look strange and they sound strange, it shouldn't really work but on their second album 'The Warning', they have recorded an album that most artists will be hard pushed to match in 2006.
Like the recent single 'Boy From School' (a nostalgic and regretful song of things long passed and teenage alienation), the album will most likely pass by the ears of most which is a great pity because Hot Chip have brought back all the inventive fun that most would normally associate with electronic music.
If you snap up a copy of 'The Warning' (and believe me, you really ought too), you will hear some of the strangest electro sounds this side of the Human League's sublime 'Reproduction'.

Analogue Sound Hooligans aided by the precision of laptops and an ear for a stonkingly wicked tune, some of it may be 'experimental' in nature but there is a pop sensibilty at work here which admittedly is a bit too clever for the charts.
Some of you will know the single 'Over & Over' included on this new long player. If you have already heard it than you'll know it's brilliant - a track put together by chemically infected alchemists from another dimension (a bit like The Human League back in 1979).
'The Warning' includes an absolute stomper of a track called 'No Fit State' which I think will probably be the next single. I've felt tempted to go up to complete strangers in the street this week, hand them my headphones and play them the track asking 'how brilliant is this?!'
It's all about someone not feeling worthy enough to even engage with the object of their desire all to a backbeat of some of the greatest analogue sounds heard since the dawn of time (this could actually be a lie as some of the sounds are straight out of 'A Clockwork Orange' when the second and ultimately uplifting half of the song kicks in). The beats are all wayward but precise throughout, no wonder that Alison Goldfrapp adores them.
Hot Chip mix the the past with the present but push it somewhere else. They are using ancient analogue keyboards but it's all mixed in a similar vein to that of Bjork's 'Verspertine' album - multi-layered - a trademark of Mark Bell and absolutely *perfect* for playback on headphones where the music takes you to another place.
This album has got me through a week of no money and a truly dire week work - I feel I owe it something ;)

There are one or two tracks that don't work on this album, if creative control had been a little bit tighter then they would have had an album that wasn't in danger of being trapped beyond the fringes but for those who delve a bit deeper than the charts for new musical frills than they will discover an album as great as Ladytron's 'The Witching Hour'. Just too good for the masses but pure heaven for those of us who live and breath this unique analogue genre.
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on 24 May 2007
A lot of people seem a little too fixated on the hype that Hot Chip received last summer and have had one listen and grumble because it isn't the best album they've ever heard.

Hot Chip take dated electro music; think kraftwerk, depeche mode and plenty of early 90s stuff, update it, soften it a touch and then repackage it in a much less pretentious way. Their is no big idea, no style that listeners attach themselves to, just some really nice, smooth electro tunes. The fact that they produced most of the album in a bedroom seems hard to believe at first but makes a lot of sense when you become conscious of the band's unassuming nature.

Tracks like 'Colours' show a very melodic side to hot chip, the vocal mixes and soft keyboards make for a really upbeat and mellow song. The flipside would be a track like 'Over and Over', one of the anthems of last year. Catchy, sexy and very club-friendly. Other highlights are the thoughtful 'Boy from School' and the beautifully sleepy title track. Through these songs they show their variety, going from almost rocky riffs through tinkling glockenspiels, Daft Punk house beats and entwined vocal melodies. What you are left with, though, is a very original brand of smooth, almost sleepy electronica.

Although Hot Chip are fantastic, it is true that this isn't an 'amazing' album. Tracks like 'Careful' seem awkward and whilst they are blatantly well-written, don't quite fit with the rest of the album. It's frustrating because it gives you a real taste of what Hot Chip are fast becoming but also reminds you that they aren't quite there yet. If all goes to plan you can't help buf feel that the next album should be pretty spectacular.

And for anyone who has heard a couple of tracks but doesn't really get what the fuss is all about; give them a proper go. I find that their music grows and expands with every listen.

S
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on 1 June 2006
Like my title says, this was a pleasant surprise.

I bought this on the strength of hearing Over and Over on the radio and seeing the video to Boy from school (it's an Art Attack!!!). It was a risk but luckily it payed off (I've been burnt too many times recently by albums that have 1 good single on and the rest is RUBBISH!!!).

I'm pretty sure that if you like Beta Band or Postal Service then you will probably like this (If you like this you will prob like Beta Band and Postal Service, check them out!).

The reason I give this album 4 stars is that the quality of the songs seems to tail off at the end, but they could be growers (i've only had it a week)?
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on 27 July 2007
An odd title for a review perhaps. But there is absolutely nothing to dislike about this album. There are no 'dud' tracks; the whole thing is a pleasure to listen to. I enjoyed the vocals, sometimes reminiscent of Underworld circa DubNoBassWithMyHeadMan, and the arrangements which, as opined elsewhere, were often like Daft Punk and Depeche Mode. Some of the tunes even had a bit of early New Order about them.
However, and this is my main reservation, not a single one of the tracks was really earth shattering. The hair on the back of my neck never once stood on end.
I enjoyed this enough though to see the band live, and wasn't disappointed. The bass was made a bit fatter, the beat a little more driving - obviously better for dancing to. Maybe the album would have benefitted from the same treatment.
All in all, this CD is certainly worth buying. But don't spend your last penny on it.
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on 21 May 2006
About time, a band to truly cherish and share wih your friends who at the opening beats and vocals will proclaim wow and convert to the power of Hot Chip. Truly amazing album and for music fans of all genres, your first essential purchase of the year. For all those end of year album ratings, this will top five it constantly. Combining harmonies, beats and clever vocals that look at influences from the beach boys to eighties electro pointing at New Order. A five star album, and thank you Hot Chip.
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on 26 May 2006
After seeing Hot Chip supporting Goldfrapp and hearing 'Over and Over', I was instantly hooked on their mixture of quirky melodies, beats and vocals. Now having bought this album, I'm hooked all over again. It hasn't left my car stereo since I got it and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something a little different from the mainstream. Highlights? 'Over and Over' obviously, but the title track's garage-esque beats and lyrics about how 'Hot Chip will break your legs, smash up your head' is fantastic and a good laugh considering how nondescript they all look!

Buy it, and you won't regret it. Fantastic album.
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on 19 April 2006
You're probably familiar with Over And Over by now. I first encountered this band courtesy of The Blue Room on Radio 1 - they played No Fit State, which has become my "latch song" for Spring 2006; the melody and vocals just get under your skin and temporarily replace motor functions... It's extremely - unusually - well arranged, with one of those mantra-like outros. And interesting lyrics too, well sung. (Want a summer hit? Re-release it as a single, go on!)

Hot Chip aren't "wild" - reminiscent of early 80s electro pop like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - though there are some boundary-pushing tracks, for example the opener, Careful. Hot Chip are a headphones band too, full of musical ideas like The Beach Boys at their peak - behind all the catchy pop tunes are lurking a lot of hidden, playful sounds. I haven't heard the whole album yet, so I gave it four stars on the strength of the tracks mentioned, as well as Boys From School and Colours.
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