Hot Chip emerged on the scene with Coming on Strong, a sly pronunciation of low-fi electronic grooves and tongue-in-cheek humor. The follow up, The Warning, stepped up the flow with a more frenetic pulse, and, true to its name, their sophomore release was simply a heads-up for Made in the Dark.
With the core duo of Al Doyle and Felix Martin rounded out with the full-time addition of Alexis Taylor, Joe Goddard and Owen Clarke, the band continues to pump up its electro-jams and deflate its beats for propulsive ballads. The virile bombast of “Out at the Pictures” is countered by the effervescently winsome “We’re Looking For A Lot of Love.” “Bendable Posable” is polyrhythmic geek-rock, underscored by the drifting title track and shown up by the anthemic , synth-driven hustle of “One Pure Thought.” All mesh well together, a cartoon soundtrack that is slinky yet controlled, exposing a Technicolor palette that goes on and on.
Despite the evolution of Hot Chip, and this heady 3.0 version, the charm of the band is often lost in sound on Made in the Dark. The drive-by quirk of “Shining Escalade” from Coming on Strong and the cascading breaks of “Colours” from The Warning remain, but are awash in robust instrumentation that, at times, seems overwrought. While still short of the band’s potential, Made In the Dark yields a broader stroke of possibilities from Hot Chip, foreshadowing brighter, better things to come.
Made in the Dark is out now on Astralworks.