Hot Chip
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Hot Chip

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The best kept secret in music


"'Coming On Strong' Album Review"

When Hot Chip visited their careers advisors, we're guessing nobody suggested 'party-funk soulboys with a penchant for DIY electro-boffinry' to
them as a viable emplyment option. With Yo La Tengo obsessions and a fondness for making beats out of biscuit tins, they're as unlikely funkateers as Har Mar Superstar. Yet its this fondness for flicking the V signs at The Rules that makes their debut such a quirky gem. I mean, just
try to pigeonhole them. Kerazy novelty act? No chance, the dreamy soul of
'Bad Luck' or the splodge-hop anthem 'The Beach Party' are as witty and as inventive as the finest pop sings. Lazy lo-fi slackers? OK, so huge parts of this record are stuck together with sticky tape, but from the sizzling synth-lines of 'Playboy' or slap-bass rejuvenator 'Down With Prince', we can tell that the Chip clearly have ambitions to be state-of-the-art soundscapers as well. Perhaps comedy pranksters then? After all 'Kepep Fallin does threatento "move you like you stood in something nasty". Folied
again, though, because frontman Alexis Taylor can't help twisting depressing
tales of romance-turned-sour around his humour.For all the attraction of Hot Chip's DIY ethos, it would have been nice if they'd injected the record with a bit more of the party-startin' oomph that surges through their incredible live shows. But as a collection of oddball
DIY pop songs, this is a dazzling debut, all the better for sounding pretty
much unlike anything else, ever. That they never came to their senses and became librarians is clearly our gain.
8/10 - NME

"Uncut 'Coming On Strong' Review"

South London five-piece Hot Chip made their entrance earlier this year with an EP, ‘Down With Prince’, the neatly ambigious title of which revealed both their puckish sense of humour and weariness of the hip hop / R&B fraternity’s insistence that they’re hip to Mr Nelson’s trip. It sets out their stall with lo-fi soul, minimal electro/glitch and decidedly idiosyncratic funk, all of which present and correct in ‘Coming On Strong’. Like their EP, the album was put together in the bedroom of one particularly tolerant Chip using synths/keyboards, programmed beats and whatever toy instruments were to hand. As recording methods go, this is nothing radical, but Hot Chip’s (sample-free) tunes are refreshingly resistant to DIY typecasting. Beats programmer/vocalist Joe Goddard would undoubtedly ‘fess up to a fondness for the Beastie Boys, Rodney “Darkchild” Jenkins, De La Soul and cLOUDEAD, vocalist/keyboard Alexis Taylor for Four Tet, Smog, Bobby Womack, Palace and – yes – Prince, but Hot Chip range far wider (and less obviously) than that. Thus ‘Keep Fallin’ is a daringly minimal, highly personal homage to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, the darkly groovy ‘Playboy’ recalls Armad Van Helden, ‘Bad Luck’ and @Shining Escalade’ dabble in pastoral Krautrock, while the lovely. Lilting ‘Crap Kraft Dinner’ suggests Arab Strap given a deep house makeover, but still comes up trumps.
A mordant humour is central to ‘Coming On Strong’ much of it expressed in the soft, reedy tones of Taylor, who detonates sly reality bombs in lines like “All the people I love are drunk”, “I haven’t got the time for a jerk-off loser” (both from ‘Crap Kraft Dinner’) and – most memorably – “Fuck you, you fucking fuck” as murmered in deceptively sweet lament ‘Bad Luck’.
Reslessly inventive, Hot Chip also manage what many bedroom eclectics don’t: crafting a genuinely organic, proper album, and the relaxed enthusiasm that drives this debut is absurdly infectious. Nice and (g)reasy does, apparently, do it. (4/5)
- Uncut

"Independent On Sunday Album Review"

Unafraid to sing songs about driving round Putney and “Crap Kraft Dinners”, Hot Chip are to N*E*R*D what Goldie Lookin’ Chain are to the Wu Tang Clan (i.e a slightly crap but charmingly British version). Geeky Prince wannabies to a man, Hot Chip are either exactly what the industry needs right now, or a pleasant enough joke in the meantime. And somehow, in spite of this approach, the group’s sound palette is an often awesome blend of vintage-synth madness and found objects. The line “I’m like Stevie Wonder but I can see things” deserves that Mercury nomination on its own. - Independent On Sunday

"Some other quotes"

Down with Prince is just one of several tracks that seems only a spoonfed beat away from Top 10 status. 'Coming On Strong' is an oddly beautiful record. (Time Out)

A refreshingly unique, eclectic and accomplished debut making a sound like Prince taking a cold shower with 'Mellow Gold'-era Beck.
(The Fly)

A delightful debut album that totally defies classification. (Jack)

Funky as a pair of Andre 3000's Y-Fronts. (The Face) - Time Out, The Fly, Jack, The Face


Down With Prince (moshi10) 12"
Coming On Strong (moshicd06) CD/LP
Playboy (moshi12) CD single / 7" / 12"


Feeling a bit camera shy


There’s something odd about Hot Chip. Some fracture between conception and actuality that makes them all the more intriguing. Ostensibly Hot Chip sign up to the HipHop dream as espoused by MTV Cribs and presumably as lived by,ooh, Pharrell Williams? They just seem to have some problems translating it to Wandsworth, SE London, is all.

In fact they seem to have trouble squaring it with the equal, but to some extent opposite, influence of, say, Bill Callahan from Smog. Or Lambchop. Or Crystal Gayle. So, instead of doing the obvious thing and working out what sort of band they are going to be, they conclude that they will be all of them at once. And then they’ll make it all in a room smaller than the box room at your Mum’s house. With whatever’s lying around. That is, whatever’s lying around – toy trumpets, kazoos, blah. This to conform to a cherished idea of Brian Wilson’s that, in the studio, anything goes.

“Whereas a band like Primal Scream simply want to BE The Rolling Stones for one album, then King Tubby on the next, and Royal Trux on another, we prefer to make references in miniature to the spirit of the records and performances we love and admire,” says vocalist/keyboard player Alexis Taylor.

“We might apply an interesting approach to recording that we have learnt from an artist, but with a different set of aesthetic principles. So traces of RTX, Anti-Pop Consortium, ‘I’m Your Man’ era-Leonard Cohen, Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty, MadLib and Will Oldham, for example, may all be somewhere in one song, rather than becoming the blueprint for an entire album.”

The crux of all this, though, is the dynamic tension between the sheer respect for the production techniques of, say, Darkchild on Brandy’s ‘What About Us?’, and a very English (and, some might say, white) need to tell it a little more like how it is. So, on the Neptunes inspired ‘Playboy’, you get the aspirational ghetto stylings of a Hype Williams as re-shot by Mike Leigh, with Hot Chipper Joe singing about blazing Yo La Tengo from his Peugeot as he tools round Putney with the top down. ‘Pathos’ is a word that springs to mind not for the first or last time while listening to ‘Coming On Strong’. But Hot Chip are nothing if not funny, although it’s safe to say they are pretty deadpan in their humour.

This is perhaps best exemplified by ‘Keep Fallin’’, a song which contains Alexis Chip’s somewhat provocative boast that he is “like Stevie Wonder” but “can see things”. This in a song that manages to shoehorn in musical nods to Ween, Womack & Womack, the Spencer Davies Group, plus the great Stevie himself, while lyrically referencing the myth of Sisyphus and cracking crap jokes. Phew!

“It should sound packed and be brimming with ideas, like ‘Pet Sounds’ or ‘Paul’s Boutique’,” says Alexis before tracing the roots of Hot Chip’s sound to the interplay between his naivety and Joe’s knowledge. And this is the way it seems to go. Hot Chip say they have between 10 and 15 songs on the go constantly, recording everything they play together and then painstakingly piecing together the best elements into a new whole, which often bears little relation to the source material. “Like Public Enemy,” they say by way of example.

Unlike most of their heroes and role models, however, Hot Chip prefer things to be slightly off or too loud or in some way odd, and set great store in the accidental nature of recording. Perhaps it is this that gives them the slightly homemade feel that permeates the whole ‘Coming On Strong’, and makes it an album so high on charm.

The party sounds that intersperse the Tom Tom Club-by ‘Beach Party’ are more back-garden barbeque than the primetime Prince which inspired them, and are deliberately designed to evoke innocence rather than more Bacchanalian pleasures. Elsewhere, home itself is never far from centre stage, whether it be the bereft rooms and empty refrigerator of ‘Crap Kraft Dinner’, or the quiet domestic tragedy of ‘Baby Said’. “Baby said she wanted adventure / I said, baby, the outside world’s not safe / We should sit down”.

And, outside the home you get…the car. Yes, the aforementioned hymn to the Peugeot is but one of three tunes on the joys of driving to be found on ‘Coming On Strong’. ‘You Ride, We Ride, In My Ride’ is Will Oldham cruising with his crew after a night on the piss, with what Joe calls UK garage polyrhythms and Alexis insists is actually a disco bassline. ‘Shining Escalade’ meanwhile is an auto-erotic phantasy about the SUV of the same name, with Alexis playing straight man to Joe’s daft flights of fancy.

This is a situation found throughout the record; Alexis high reedy vocal and often deadly sincere words, juxtaposed with Joe’s browner, slightly ludicrous baritone, pointing us towards the more playful elements of Hot Chip. And, in truth, they are both meaningful and meaningless. At the same time. They like to sing sweetly about aggressive situations, a