Hot Chip, ‘One Life Stand’ (EMI)
Is there a band that better embraces the trajectory of dweeb chic thanLondon quintet Hot Chip? In previous generations, their primary songwriters — bespectacled Alexis Taylor and bloke-ish Joe Goddard — would’ve been relegated to bit parts in Revenge of the Nerds or jobs in an IT department. But in the 21st century, they’ve been elevated to semi-pop-star status, deftly folding musical influences from both Prince and Bonnie “Prince” Billy into songs that namedrop wrestling action figures and spell out “C-A-S-I-O.”
The aughts have been a hyperactive time for the group, with dizzying amounts of remixes and side projects, but One Life Stand finds the boys settling down and growing a tad soft in the middle. “I only want to be your one life stand,” Taylor promises in a honeyed coo on the walloping title track, subverting club-culture hedonism to reveal a conservative streak. “Why can’t Ibe bright like the lover’s light?” Taylor ponders in a fragile falsetto on the piano-driven, string-garlanded “Hand Me Down Your Love.”
Yet such romantic sap turns Goddard’s bromantic ode “Brothers” into mush, while the steel-drum-tinted ballad “Slush” goes somnambulant. Dance-floor fare like “I Feel Better” and “Take It In” still flash classic acid-house chops, but they seem more suited to that new class of domesticated, grown-up hipster: the grup.
WATCH: Hot Chip, “One Life Stand”