Made In The Dark is Hot Chip's third full-length release and the follow up to their critically acclaimed album The Warning. This new installment shows Hot Chip at its best-
wonderfully quirky, clever, soulful and poppy. The sound of the band has evolved towards a wilder, heavier electronics, though still coupled with a signature pop aesthetic.
This tougher sound is no more evident than on the single Shake A Fist which created a massive stir when it crept out at the end of 2007 on a limited etched 12". Ready
For The Floor and One Pure Thought add pure, unadulterated head rush pop into the mix. Made In The Dark also shows that the band is equally at home creating songs
of intimacy and melancholy as they were dancefloor fillers.
The band come together with Owen Clarke's signature guitar and keyboard riffs, Al Doyle's high caliber musicianship and Felix Martin's programming skills combined
with the considerable talents of Joe Goddard and Alexis Taylor in a way making the songs even more propulsive, repetitive, rhythmical, methodical, wonky, intimate and
beautiful than before.
Throughout Made In The Dark there are echoes of earlier songs and styles, steps forwards, backwards and sideways. The band recorded several tracks on the album live
in one take such as Hold On and Out At The Pictures which is rare for any band these days, but even more so for an electronic-pop band.
Hot Chip straddle the line of electronic and pop so well as we feel there is appeal for the band in many musical tastes. The hipsters who found and love Hot Chip will still
be lured in by their originality and inventiveness, whereas the undeniable infectiousness and catchiness of their music should bring them a wider audience.
Hot Chip have always been the sort of band happy to flaunt their intelligence, but the smartest trick they pull on Made in the Dark
is to show a little wisdom, too. 2006s The Warning
was a fine record, albeit one sometimes difficult to take seriously thanks to its taste for pop pastiche--heres the Prince track, theres a 2-step garage track--or the occasional ironic wisecrack. On their third album, though, its satisfying to report Hot Chip sound like no one but themselves. That is, shuffling, synthesizer-smeared electro-pop with a gooey emotional core and, in the shape of Alexis Taylor, one of the greatest white-boy soul voices since that of his hero, Green Gartside of Scritti Politti. "Ready for the Floor" sounds halfway between Detroit techno and the soundtrack to a Nintendo RPG, Taylors clear, honest vocal reaching out hopefully: "Im hoping by chance/You might take this dance," while the albums title track is a slow piano ballad that finds him laid blue over the ruins of a love affair. There is mischief, too, of course: take "Wrestlers," a dinky R&B track where the group show off their knowledge of wrestling slang. Even when theyre ready to rumble, though, Hot Chip show off the sort of emotion and elation weve rarely seen since the glory days of New Order, and thats high praise indeed. -Louis Pattison