One Life Stand, Hot Chip’s fourth release, is the headliner to Made In The Dark’s opener. It takes its predecessor’s upbeat, dance-influenced elements and develops them further, pulling the simplistic synth beats of the 2008 mega-hit into deeper waters. It retains everything that was great about Made In The Dark, without all the sing-songy choruses and tweeness. It’s fun and dancey and upbeat, but it has depth and meaning. And for that, it kicks the ass of every other Hot Chip album to date.
The record opens on a familiar dance sound with “Thieves In The Night,” echoing the style of the intense synth-drum-driven “Ready For The Floor.” The electronic complexity and heavily, intricately layered sound jolts you into the material that follows, which proves that the electro-power-pop Londoners can stay true to their roots while still making huge strides into new instrumental territory. Take, for instance, the addicting steel drums of the title track and the purely disco symphony of “I Feel Better.” Hot Chip clearly know what works for them and know who they are, and they’re confident enough in their clearly outrageous talent to test their creativity.
On top of being instrumentally impressive, One Life Stand is Hot Chip’s most emotional release. Lyrically, it’s mature and thoughtful, focusing on the importance of commitment and responsibility. Perhaps this is just the result of a band that has grown into itself and come to understand the larger things in life; perhaps it’s due to the birth of singer Alexis Taylor’s new baby. Whatever the reason, the pure sentimentality and sweetness of lines like “Now that we’re older there’s more than we must do with songs we remember/ Remember, my love is with you” are enough to turn the heart of any Hot Chip Scrooge.