Hot Chip - Made in the Dark

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Hot Chip have always been the sort of band happy to flaunt their intelligence, but the smartest trick they pull on Made in the Dark is to show a little wisdom, too. 2006’s The Warning was a fine record, albeit one sometimes difficult to take seriously thanks to its taste for pop pastiche--here’s the Prince track, there’s a 2-step garage track--or the occasional ironic wisecrack. On their third album, though, it’s satisfying to report Hot Chip sound like no one but themselves. That is, shuffling, synthesiser-smeared electro-pop with a gooey emotional core and, in the shape of Alexis Taylor, one of the greatest white-boy soul voices since that of his hero, Green Gartside of Scritti Politti. "Ready for the Floor" sounds halfway between Detroit techno and the soundtrack to a Nintendo RPG, Taylor’s clear, honest vocal reaching out hopefully: "I’m hoping by chance/You might take this dance", while the album’s title track is a slow piano ballad that finds him laid blue over the ruins of a love affair. There is mischief, too of course: take "Wrestlers", a dinky R&B track where the group show off their knowledge of wrestling slang. Even when they’re ready to rumble, though, Hot Chip show off the sort of emotion and elation we’ve rarely seen since the glory days of New Order, and that’s high praise indeed. –-Louis Pattison

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