For the first few years they were releasing music, Hot Chip never really spoke to me. The combination of sentimental indie-pop and electronic instrumentation lacked the chemistry and the sparkle to really draw me in. Then I saw their now-legendary April 2010 show at the 9:30 Club. They were touring One Life Stand, a relatively low key record about the romantic, fraternal and familial love shared between people. Songs that had been weighed down by a reflective lethargy on their records came to life on stage, and owned the crowd. The feeling was electric. It seemed as if everyone was bouncing around the club in unison, enjoying a collective experience well beyond your average 9:30 show.
On their fifth studio recording, they seem to have hit the sweet spot between between energetic production and emotionally relevant lyrics. In Our Heads opens with bouncing synths and horns that draw you in to the party that will last the next fifty-six minutes. Producer-vocalist Joe Goddard’s solo foray into dance music in the two years since the release of One Life Stand shines through with crisp, infectious hooks and melodic interludes. From the synth-pop guitar driven 80’s homage “Don’t Deny your Heart” to the faded bass of “These Chains”, Hot Chip deliver a consistently vibrant, engaging record.
The two standout tracks on In Our Heads come back to back, smack in the middle of the record. “Night and Day” is a straight-up club track that oozes bass and the sexual demands of a partner that clearly want too much too often, but in a good way. The song transitions into “Flutes”, a hypnotic, deep-house influenced gem that builds into a journey into the sublime, and is one of the best dance tracks you’re likely to hear this year.
Since my first listen, I have found myself jumping from section to section for hours, something I haven’t done in a very long time. In Our Heads is a record about vitality, contentment, loving each other and loving life. What I am really looking forward to though is hearing Hot Chip perform this record live, and the inevitable trickle of remixes that will come in the coming months. With the depth of their past catalog, and now In Our Heads, they certainly have enough high quality material to work with.