Future generations will be geeky, and we’ve got Hot Chip to blame. As more and more bands of skinny, bespectacled boys meet with success, more and more chicks dig scrawny arms, pasty complexions, and corrective eye wear. But Darwin’s whole “survival of the fittest” thing isn’t losing relevance; it’s just rock’n’roll. In other words, the British lads from synth-rock outfit Hot Chip are going to be like Spanish fly to the ladies. Genes get passed down; gangly offspring are inevitable.
Those kids will have no problem getting their dance on to the beats on Hot Chip’s debut album, Coming on Strong. Pop melodies swell on “The Beach Party” where Prince-inspired vocals shout out Girls Gone Wild come-ons: “Throw off your towel / And let’s get wet, wet, wet.” His robotic beeps and blips eventually give way to the yelps and “woo-woos” of partygoers layered over sweltering synthetic beats.
While Hot Chip shakes one foot on the dance floor, they dip their other toes into everything from hip-hop to whatever genre utilizes kazoos. At the core of this style juxtaposition are beat master/vocalist Joe Goddard and singer Alexis Taylor, who refer to each other as Ulysses and Sophocles in their geekiest of moments. But it’s not all fun and games: Sure, “Keep Fallin'” is marked by Taylor’s cheeky vocals and deadpan humor — he repeatedly asks “Don’t you ever wonder / How the hell does Stevie Wonder see things?” — but Goddard sounds wounded and defeated in the ballad “Baby Said.”
“Me and Ulysses / We’re like Gene and Dean Ween / We’re like brothers making records who can’t play things,” Taylor chirps on “Just Fallin.'” Yes, Ulysses and Sophocles Jr. may be nerdy kids, but their giddy patchwork dance rock is no myth.