One Life Stand
[Rating: 3.5 stars]
After a 2009 Grammy nom for Best Dance Recording (“Ready for the Floor”) from 2008’s Made in the Dark, the British quintet decided to go a mellower route. If your fondest memories of Hot Chip involve gyrating to Dionysian tunes like “Ready for the Floor” and The Warning’s “Over and Over,” you may be disappointed with the overall feel of One Life Stand. But if their more ambient tracks like “Boy from School” tickle your fancy, you’re in luck.
Synth-heavy leadoff track “Thieves in the Night” has an eighties Pet Shop Boys feel, while the gospel-inspired “Hand Me Down Your Love” boasts classic house elements and a chorus that sets the theme for the record: “Open up my love/I’ve known for a long time/You are my love light.” Lyrically, the kings of electro-pop have nixed any detached, cheeky humor for complete candor on matters of the heart.
On ballads like “Brothers” and “Slush” this candor can wax sentimental. But on the inventive “Alley Cats,” an ode to co-leader Joe Goddard’s mother, it really gels when the singers proclaim in unison: “There’s no pain I don’t know.” And the Joy Division-y, industrial-tinged sound of closer “Take It In” contrasts well with Alexis Taylor and Goddard’s light and airy vocals—leaving you walking on air, if not ready for the floor.