Album Review: Hot Chip - In Our Heads

Anyone who's ever had a wee bit of a severe mental lapse will perhaps sympathize with my Hot Chip situation. You see, I somehow (don't ask, I have no earthly idea) managed to neglect to include Hot Chip in my Best of 2012 list, which is a serious oversight on my part. Had I included them, there's no doubt in my mind they would at the very least have cracked the top ten. And that's a conservative estimate.

In Our Heads is, quite possibly, my most favorite of all Hot Chip records, speaking to the album as a whole. It's the band's fifth full-length, and each of the eleven songs demonstrates what can happen when you've been making great music for years and get better each go. These are the sounds of a band on top form. Much of the album is instantly classic, and is next to impossible to ignore. 

It begins with two ridiculously rambunctious shimmy shakers, "Motion Sickness" and "How Do You Do?", each of which elicits fits of dancing in their own special way. "Motion Sickness" trends a bit bombastic and theatrical, while "How Do You Do?" is all about dancefloor-ready beats and an underlying, undeniable undulation. Like the best mullets, these are songs that are both business and a serious party. It took me a while just to get past repeated listening to the pair. 

When I did, I made it to the fun, fluffy "Don't Deny Your Heart," slinkily synthy and a bit over the top. In Our Heads stays true to the Hot Chip ethos by throwing in some slow jams, such as "Look At Where We Are," hallmarked by Alexis Taylor's golden falsetto tendencies. As good as the slower songs are, I'm all about the movers and shakers. And for me, it doesn't get much better than "These Chains." Ruthlessly infectious, the song is filled with clever little loved up lyrics and gets my vote for best use of "boo" in a serious manner in a song. It's a thing of beauty, that song, and will no doubt get stuck in your brain. Especially after listening to it on repeat for a few hours (trust me on this one).

But wait, there's more. 

"Night And Day" is one to get the folks on the floor, that's for sure. Bassy and bouncy, and absolutely impossible not to want to cut a rug to. Or whatever the kids these days get up to in the club. It also features one of the best hypothetical lines of any song of all time ("Do I look like a rapper?"). The answer, of course, is no, but that's hardly the point. Another favorite amongst favorites is the epic "Let Me Be Him," with the boys getting their romantic/lovelorn kicks amongst a big and beaty sprawl of over seven and a half minutes. It's exhilarating, and is the kind of song that seals the deal on a record's excellence. 

While they're obviously all grown up, the merrymakers of Hot Chip definitely still have their fingers on the pulse of having a daggum good time. If, for some irrational reason, you're not yet a fan, In Our Heads is the record that will change your mind. 

mp3: Let Me Be Him (Hot Chip from In Our Heads) (via KEXP)



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