28 February 2008

Lord of the Fries

Here's the review I wrote for Hot Chip at Newcastle Student's union:

Electro is back. It’s official. With Simian Mobile Disco playing their take on the genre a few weeks ago, it was now time for Hot Chip to step up to the ring and deliver their blend of electronic rock to Newcastle.
Hot Chip’s second album, The Warning, was Mercury Music Prize nominated and earned them a well-deserved place in the hearts of fans. Tonight they were touring their third album, the acclaimed Made in the Dark. They didn’t disappoint, blowing the audience away with opener Shake a Fist after frontman Alexis Taylor had skipped on merrily wearing a yellow fox mask. The crowd was mesmerized with their live interpretations of their songs, jumping and dancing to every track played.
Other songs such as Out at the Pictures, One Pure Thought and Hold On received a great reception from the frenzied crowd, but the old classics Boy From School and Over and Over proved to be explosive catalysts, making everyone go wild. Synth player and singer Joe Goddard teased the audience before playing the most popular song of the night. People were in raptures when they sang the opening lines of hit single Ready for the Floor towards the end of the set, making everyone crying out for more when they left the stage for the first time.
During the encore, it was obvious that everyone had been whipped up into a frenzy and even through the quiet and gentle Made in the Dark they were cheering them on and encouraging them to continue through the night. All good things have to come to an end though, so when the band finally left the stage there was a feeling of disappointment that they couldn’t have played for longer.
Hot Chip well and truly blew all of their electro rivals out of the water with the clever arrangements and catchy tunes that have made them so popular. The five piece are surely top dogs when it comes to electro.

... And here's the bit I left out:

Poor Matthew Dear! I felt so sorry for him - his electronic music is more sensitive than that of Hot Chip's and it needs to be appreciated in a quiet environment. Note: quiet environment. Well, all you could hear was the chattering of rude and incredibly annoying people who just stood through the whole thing drinking and distracting me for listening to him. He's got some good tunes and is obviously passionate about what he does but the only time anyone paid any attention was when Joe Goddard joined him onstage. For the final song! To be honest, if I was in a band I wouldn't tolerate it. If I noticed someone having a little conversation I'd probably say something really sarcastic to them like, "Having a nice little conversation are you? Good, I'm just hoping you'll stop blathering on about nothing long enough to notice that I'm actually on stage right now." It's shocking. I don't know how he put up with it.

15 February 2008

Made in the Light

I haven't posted a blog for at least two weeks... maybe three. I feel very lazy for not doing so but really there hasn't been much to blog about. Until now.

I was recently given Hot Chip's Made in the Dark as a gift - and what a gift it was! It is remarkably better than both of their previous albums - Coming on Strong and Mercury Music Prize nominated The Warning - put together. It must be amazing because for the last week or so I haven't listened to anything but the joyous techno blast that fires at you from the very first song. Strangely, I don't think that Ready for the Floor is one of the best songs on the album; there are plenty of tracks here that can be considered to be singles, including the tribal beats of Shake a Fist, the noisy but well-made Touch Too Much and the incredibly upbeat Out at the Pictures. Even more mellow moments like We're Looking For a Little Love and Made in the Dark are wonderful, smooth ditties that give breathing space between the raucous electro infused tracks. One song really steals the show for me, though. One Pure Thought starts off with a lone guitar that sounds like it's being played in a cave and then moves on to an incredibly effective layering of sassy synths. Little blasts here and there from the guitar give the track a lot of power and Alexis Taylor's almost fragile voice makes the song oddly ethereal.

I can't say that this is a mixed bag at all - a lot of people are saying that it's not as good as previous efforts but maybe they're just blinded by the fact that this album is so much more ambitious than their previous ventures.