So Hot Chip is back with another nonsensical video for “Look At Where We Are” off of their most recent album In Our Heads. It includes a mad scientist observing a seemingly dead yet beautiful woman, then cutting open either his, or her, tail, and then taking that stuffing and placing it in her head, along with, oh you know, some strawberries that then create a blinding hypnotic mess taking the two back in time to her past as a… model who hates strawberries? I feel as though that massive run-on sentence is necessary to embody the run-on confusion of this video as a whole.
I’m not sure if there is anything to be made of this video- like most Hot Chip videos it doesn’t seem like its even trying to portray any greater point other than an entertaining short to watch. Their previous video for their newest album’s single “Night & Day” provided an equally ridiculous experience with its weird cultish dance moves that made you want to partake.
Perhaps their most memorable video, though, is the one that includes boy-band-killing lasers that should be mentioned in this post simply for its iconic hilarity and parody of British boy bands in “I Feel Better.”
Either way this seems to be that token slow song that Hot Chip awards us with on each album, and I am loving it, weirdness and strawberries in all.
Check out Hot Chip’s new video for “Look At Where We Are” below.
Hot Chip started out as this sort of Weezer-like entity within the electronica-dance scene. When they first appeared in 2004, they were enticingly regarded as a sort of nerd-pop group, as they openly admitted their infatuation with Prince and wore their Dad jeans. Their first two albums, Coming On Strong and The Warning, were filled with simple, throbbing beats and smart lyrics that were both funny and memorable. By Made In The Dark, their sound had grown substantially, adding both depth and quality to their music production and, though it was not completely adored at the time (for some reason fans didn’t like Joe Goddard’s rapping style), it finally seemed that Hot Chip were writing the sort of music they seem to have wanted to make the whole time. One Life Stand continued with the same kind of exploration of larger sounds, and showed how Hot Chip were able to balance out the overpowering beats with Alexis Taylor’s meek croon. So, here we are with In Our Heads, the fifth album of Hot Chip’s twelve-year-long run and they’re still killing it.
The beauty of Hot Chip is how they manage to build six to seven minute LCD Soundsystem-style dance tracks and also pen some sweetly meek R&B songs. “Flutes” has all the makings of a classic Hot Chip song: a deliciously repetitive chorus and unusual sounds created by means of weirdly tribal vocals in the beginning and what seems to be xylophone toward the end of the track. What sets it apart, however, is the sheer depth of their music. With their last few albums, Hot Chip has been toying with larger, more pervasive synths and percussion, and they’re back at it on In Our Heads. The sharpness of the beat in “Night and Day” hearkens back to their early days, but the band manages to sound more adult, like they recognize they might be close to being “too strange” and react accordingly. For all intents and purposes, Hot Chip have become almost an electronic jam band with each song allowing ample space for everyone to stretch their legs a bit.
“Look At Where We Are” reminds me of Taylor’s solo project from a few years ago; the lyrics are sweetly innocent and the melody really exemplifies the meekness of his voice. The minor details of the song, like the syrupy vocal effects and slow-jam R&B percussion, make it more than just a simple, well-written track. The same is true for “Always Been Your Love,” which quietly finishes the album, and it’s a nice reminder that, while Hot Chip is devoted to making dance music, they are also always in hot pursuit of a little love. The song sounds almost like a lounge track, accented by Taylor’s hambone delivery and their use of piano. Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t share that same wide-eyed, love-drunk notion.
Like any jam band, their sound can wear thin after fifty-six minutes of In Our Heads. Since they’ve noticeably fleshed out their style, the length of their songs have become a sort of barrier that keeps out anyone but serious Hot Chip fans. Even though they’re using new and bizarre sounds, the inventiveness of the music is heavily outweighed by being bombarded by those same sounds for up to seven minutes. “Don’t Deny Your Heart” sounds like it was made in the same session as the Miami Vice theme song, which is not necessarily a bad thing, although it grows old quickly. Unsavory noises aside, my biggest qualm with the record is the length of their songs. Some of them could be easily cut short or condensed to make the record feel less time-consuming as a whole. Hot Chip dwell on some tracks for so long that listeners may lose interest very quickly.
In Our Heads speaks to both the future and past of Hot Chip’s fruitful career. While they seem to always create undeniably good jams, their expansive sound has allowed them to make longer, more washed out tracks. Though this record is not the strongest release of their recent past, it spawned some great songs, like “Flutes” and “Night and Day,” that are likely to be on countless summertime playlists and end of the year best-of lists.