With five releases in less than a decade, electronica gurus Hot Chip tend to deliver albums the same way Katherine Heigl delivers fucking awful romantic comedies – relentlessly. Despite this sizeable catalogue, quality hasn’t been remotely compromised and it had appeared that Hot Chip had reached a career peak with their fourth release, One Life Stand. As infectious as it was fluent, One Life Stand was a concept album that championed playfulness over pretentiousness.
Don’t be fooled by the heard-it-all-before feeling of the first official single “Night & Day” people, for it sounds nothing like the rest of the In Our Heads. It also stands alone as the disappointment of an otherwise near-flawless masterpiece.
Album opener “Motion Sickness” is a swaggering horn and percussion declaration to doubters that they best look elsewhere for disappointment – there’s nothing to see here. They back it up with the gloriously 80s duo of “How Do You Do?” and “Don’t Deny Your Heart,” the latter particularly shines.
Where Hot Chip really excel is on pseudo-single “Flutes.” Unconventional and chaotic yet utterly clever, it’s a challenging mind-fuck of modern dance. It’s also an exceptional piece of work and more exciting than anything else on radio right now.
It doesn’t stop there. At seven minutes and 41 seconds, “Let Me Be Him” is like a pass-the-parcel game where everybody wins, with one layer of lyrical and melodic excellence revealed after another. A mid-tempo tour de force, the “Oh-uh-ohs” of the chorus are stirring and epic – some of their best work to date.
Enthusiasts of One Life Stand will find plenty of reasons to be excited by In Our Heads, but Hot Chip’s experimentation and constant progression mean continuously welcoming new fans with open arms. Whatever’s in their heads, we’re lucky they’ve written it down on paper. 4.5 stars.
Key Tracks: Flutes, Motion Sickness, Let Me Be Him