Slow Music Review: Hot Chip – One Life Stand

There is a theme running throughout my writing; a cold spine of anger and mistrust against the weaponised use of music appreciation. Quite a bloated sentence to begin with. In layman’s; I have a terrible dislike for those who use new bands and songs to diminish your own personal tastes. To make you feel bad for not ‘getting’ music. The classic “You listen to pop? Well I listen to Ukrainian anti-punk that I discovered by rummaging through the vinyl bargain bins on Record Store Day!”. The implication is always clear, they put more ‘effort’ into finding the music and therefore it has a higher perceived worth than my radio friendly hit. It is a personal axe I grind. But the way I see it is that the beauty of music, especially in this new streaming age, lies in it’s ability to reach out across the ages. To move you from the past. Indeed, the whole point of starting this blog was to specifically praise music that wasn’t current and had lost all the hype of the new release. We can see clearer in hindsight and it often makes the discovery of older gems that little bit sweeter. Who cares if I’ve only discovered the joy and talent of Hot Chip now? The fact that I discovered it at all, on my own terms, means more than any limited release ever could.

Like most, it was ‘Over and Over‘ that first introduced me to Hot Chip and though catchy, I didn’t really buy it wholesale. ‘Boy From School‘ was another matter entirely, a beautiful, elegantly crafted interlude that showed that they had a rare talent for subtlety. One Life Stand takes everything I liked about ‘Boy From School’ and extends it over the course of it’s 49 minutes. There is variety and imagination and pitch-perfect patch choices. Most importantly, there is that beautiful discourse between the competing vocal deliveries of Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard. It’s very much an ace to have not one but two distinctive vocalists, it prevents you from ever getting too settled as you never know which timbre will come at you next. In much the same way, One Life Stand is skilfully varied and arranged, as disco-funk and electro-soul make way for haunting doo-wop and traditional indietronica. It’s a hateful term, ‘indietronica’; I think I’ve only ever used it as a stone to bash in trend setters and the pompous. But this album makes me understand that it can actually be a craft worthy of laudation.

The problem with our musical culture is that there are far too many bands and far too many releases for anything to really stand out. A secondary problem then arises once you miss an artist’s arrival, you can’t be bothered to give them a second chance. The moment passes and the industry resents a new champion for us to invest in. So the treadmill grinds on. It happened to me with Hot Chip; the mote I knew didn’t fully grab me so I passed on listening to what came next. Though as I said, just because you didn’t listen to it at the time doesn’t mean you can’t get all fan-boy now. I am made quite the fan-boy. This album is on repeat and just, just beat Thomas Dolby for this weeks topic which is no mean feat. If you don’t know it I suggest giving it a listen and giving it a buy. Until next time.

Oh, before you go could you be a dear and follow me on Twitter and like the Facebook. I’ll love you forever.


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