The London electropoppers return with their fourth album, and possibly their most accomplished to date. 'One Life Stand' may leap from style to style, but it's tied together neatly by the quintet's distinctive sound.
Four albums into their career, Hot Chip have now earned the right to do… well, pretty much whatever they want. After breaking through with their second album 'The Warning' in 2005, the Londoners achieved yet another hit with its fine follow-up, 'Made in the Dark' – and even that album was creatively a little off-the-wall in parts.
Sure, Alexis Taylor and co. have always been the sort of band to mix it up; their style may be predominantly electropop, but they've speckled their output with ballads and club anthems at times, too, a trait that has doubtlessly enhanced their popularity. 'One Life Stand', however, seems to be their pluckiest endeavour to date. The stylistic gaps between the likes of the simplistic 'Hand Me Down Your Love' and the bouncy disco throb of 'I Feel Better' seems wider than ever before, but that's no bad thing. By varying their template to such a degree, Hot Chip have fashioned an album with real staying power.
Check out the rich, resounding steel drum sound on the title track, interspersed with quirky beats, zaps and dinky effects; sink your teeth into the airy singalong chorus of 'Take it In', and swoon at love-song-with-a-twist 'Brothers'. True, at times, Taylor and co. seem a little too introspective for their own good: 'Slush', in particular, is a plodding ballad that seems slightly out of step with the rest of the album. Nevertheless, 'One Life Stand' is probably the first album that Hot Chip have made that isn't necessarily as throwaway as their previous material. Bravo.