The epitome of electro-pop/dance rock music, Hot Chip returns with its new album, Made In The Dark, which just goes to show how energetic and dynamic the genre can be. Inclined to indulge their love of genre-crossing and experimentation, Made In The Dark feels slightly scattered at times and can seem to come from several different directions, but it is highly enjoyable and forceful throughout.
As much as Hot Chip’s experimental aesthetic can detract from the album’s overall coherence, the group’s whimsy does work to their advantage, in terms of the fact that listening to the album is a unique and original experience every time. The agility and deftness of this album proves the members of Hot Chip are adept, inventive chameleons, whose true talents lie in delivering danceable music of the highest caliber.
Though Made In The Dark may lack a distinct focus or cohesive structure, the album is strong in the risks it takes and in the band’s ability to open up to and expand on multiple ideas. Some stand-out songs are the vibrant, electro-pop “Ready for the Floor,” the infectious “Touch Too Much” and the feel-good “One Pure Though,” all indicative of the power and intensity Hot Chip captures so effectively in its music.
Made In The Dark seems to primarily alternate between its electro-pop moments and its more pensive, ballad-esque numbers, such as “We’re Looking for a Lot of Love,” “Made in the Dark” and “Whistle for Will” – all featuring sinuous melodies, strong rhythms and backbeats and curious departures into soul. Every song seems to dabble in highly addictive repetition, wailing synth and trills, clattering percussions and twisted guitar chords. All contributes to producing a hypnotic, trance-like effect and further reinforcing the electronic/dance aesthetic of the album, and of Hot Chip’s members as artists.
There doesn’t seem to be many consistencies on Made In The Dark, beside an inherent predisposition for exploring various approaches and angles to their particular form of art and adding their own idiosyncrasies to that. In the future, Hot Chip could seriously benefit from expanding on certain ideas and honing in on a slightly more consciously focused perspective, mastering its sound and skill into something streamlined and truly brilliant.
That’s not to say Made In The Dark isn’t filled with an abundance of appreciable moments, powerful insights and highly-skilled craftsmanship. Made In The Dark is, ultimately, highly telling of what Hot Chip is only minimally capable of, an exercise in its aptitude and competence. If anything, Made In The Dark proves that in order for a work of art to be effective, it does not necessarily have to be cohesive or consistent, or even really organized, for that matter – but rather must exude a genuine passion for creating something fun and exciting, something Hot Chip ardently confirms. Here’s to hoping Hot Chip’s next record continues to expand on the concept, perhaps with a bit more potency and a lot more consistency than this highly-adept, but not entirely-developed, album.