What a difference a year makes. Hot Chip‘s debut, Coming on Strong, is not very good. There are good ideas on it but the songs are half-assed, the production tinny and the band coasts on it’s founding joke (white British dudes playing Prince-style funk) for the entire length of the record. But live, there was something there. Despite being five nerdy looking British dudes hunched over keyboards, Hot Chip were never less than entertaining and the songs came alive. At Rothko last March, the band seemed to impress people more than headliners Maximo Park. And when I saw them at Hiro Ballroom during Resfest’s closing night party in September, they had improved tenfold.
What a happy surprise that their new album, The Warning, is a bit of a revelation. Production credits for the album are sketchy right now, but something happened between the two albums as Hot Chip have taken the promise that was always there, brought all their good qualities to the forefront, polished it and added a fat bottom end. Every song (and they are songs this time) is good, borderline great. The synths sound amazing, like they raided Arthur Baker and New Order’s keyboard warehouse circa 1985 ("Shellshock" comes to mind). But it’s melded with thumb pianos, acoustic guitars, real drums and other real instruments for a deceptively full sound. And the lyrics are less jokey.
Will they be able to pull of the new songs in concert? Hot Chip play Bowery Ballroom on March 11 — I can’t wait to find out. The Warning drops in May. Until then…
Hot Chip – "Boy From School"
Hot Chip – "The Warning"