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In Our Heads
Hot Chip In Our Heads
Released 8 June 2012
Producer(s) Hot Chip, Mark Ralph
Label Domino
Length 56:48
Genre Synthpop, alternative dance
Website hotchip.co.uk
79

Hot Chip, the eternal proponents of ‘looks can be deceiving’, are back with their fifth album; In Our Heads. This album marks a new stage in the group’s career, with it being their first release under Domino Records. While their time at DFA had them rubbing shoulders with the big hitters of the electronic dance scene, they can now count Arctic Monkeys, Four Tet and Animal Collective as their new stable mates so it would appear they are in safe hands.

While this is a new beginning for the band the album is still packed with the same cerebral, geek-chic music that makes Hot Chip so likable. The album opens with 'Motion Sickness' whose offbeat triplet notes suggest an updated version of Pink Floyd’s 'On The Run' before staunch brass synths and Alexis Taylor’s subdued vocals drag the track into more subdued waters. There is a notably heavy ‘80s influence that permeates the album on tracks like 'How Do You Do', 'Let Me Be Him' and 'Don’t Deny Your Heart', this isn’t anything new for the electro pop genre of course but perhaps the new beginning at Domino has caused the band to shift their musical style slightly more towards the eighties.

The midpoint of In Our Heads provides the highlight of the album with a run of three distinctly different tracks which manage to succinctly sum up what Hot Chip are about. First up is the album’s lead single, 'Night And Day', which showcases the band’s innate ability to write catchy pop tunes. Its a song in the same vein as 'Ready For The Floor' or 'Over and Over' with a similarly madcap video by Peter Serafinowicz to accompany it. With an extremely club friendly vibe it's guaranteed to get a lot of airplay from radios and clubs with good taste. Following this is 'Flutes', an epic seven minute track which builds slowly from an initial incoherent chanting and simple percussion line up to a full on euphoric dance track. It’s strangely simplistic for the band but absolutely works and will undoubtedly be listed as the pick of the album by many critics and fans alike.

Rounding off the trinity is 'Now There Is Nothing' which shows the band’s ability to write complex music that is emotionally charged. What's immediately noticeable is the constantly shifting chord progression that rarely settles for more than a few bars. There’s also a prog rock flavour to the album which calls to mind early Genesis circa A Trick of The Tail. Taylor’s vocals again are perfectly suited as he ascends and descends scales on a song that reflects on youth and loss.

In Our Heads proves that there is definitely life after DFA for Hot Chip, whether you're a fan of the catchy pop songs or the extended dance tracks there’s plenty of both on the album to keep you happy. All tracks on the album are extremely listenable, the only real negative (if you could even call it that) is that the album doesn’t consistently hit the same heights reached by the best songs on the album which stops it from being a stone cold classic; The lesser songs do work but aren’t really catchy enough to guarantee longevity.

- Brian Kinsella