ALBUM REVIEW: HOT CHIP – WHY MAKE SENSE?

10/10

ALBUM REVIEW: HOT CHIP – WHY MAKE SENSE?

Hot Chip return with a sixth album, recorded against a background of the band’s concerns about whether or not they remain relevant in today’s dance and electronic scenes. They really needn’t have worried however as Why Make Sense? is an album that once again shows how lucky we are to have a band like Hot Chip. They don’t have to worry about fitting in or remaining relevant as they’ve always been their own men; aware of their influences but always producing their own sound and feel. Here, they do that once again and in doing so have made one of the albums of the year – Why Make Sense? is Hot Chip’s best album yet.

Opener Huarache Lights is a hugely impressive start. Like many great Hot Chip tracks, on first listen there’s a lot to take in, but on each subsequent play it grabs you and doesn’t let go. It’s indicative of what’s to come as it’s fairly short, punchy and crammed with superb musical moments and melodies. Love Is The Future follows, adding Pos from De La Soul for a mid-section rap that, unlike many other bands attempts to do something similar, doesn’t detract from the song at all. The nod to Kraftwerk’s Computer World both in the electronic stabs and “Connection…Correction” vocal is a nicer touch too. The first truly great track comes next with Cry For You which is a combination of 80’s pop and New Order in their prime. It’s magnificent and has a chorus which has one of those melodies that irresistible – you’ll recognise it when you hear it.

Started Right initially recalls the band’s earliest work with the electro-funk bringing to mind the excellent Playboy before yet another killer chorus pops up and strings appear, giving the song a Studio 54 disco feel. As ever, the band aren’t scared to mix up their influences and, as ever, it works and works beautifully. The slowest track on the album, the Prince like White Wine and Fried Chicken comes next before the album’s stand out track Dark Night arrives. Hot Chip have recorded many, many great tracks but this is their best. A flawless exercise in electronic pop music, Dark Night is a stunning song. It starts with, oddly enough, feedback, before opening into perfect synth pop and a lead vocal by Joe Goddard. At 1 minute 42 seconds in when he sings “Don’t say a word/I don’t think they’d understand” and the music surges towards the chorus, you are witnessing greatness. It’s beyond sublime and this track will easily be the best thing I hear this year. Magcial.

Dark Night alone is evidence that Hot Chip really shouldn’t have worried at all when recording this album and the remainder of the record only serves to confirm that. Easy To Get is another perfect exercise in pop that again recalls Prince in places and, once again, has a chorus that is a joy to the ears. Recent single Need You Now is up next and it continues the theme of 4 minute electronic pop genius, adding an Al Doyle vocal part which brings to mind the magnificence of New Build’s Do You Not Feel Loved? and the penultimate So Much Further To Go follows that perfectly, slowing the pace a little with a wonderful vocal from Alexis. All that brings us to the last track, the title track Why Make Sense? which is a superb electronic wall of noise which adds layers and layers of electronics as it builds to a wonderful climax, ending the album on a high and demanding that you immediately start playing it again and again.

There aren’t many bands that reach the stage of releasing a sixth album these days and even fewer who seem to get better with each album like Hot Chip do. They should be recognised as a genuine national treasure and Why Make Sense? should be heard by everyone. This is a genuinely brilliant, ten out of ten album.

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