In Our Heads - DOMINO
FILTER Grade: 80%
By Laura Studarus on June 12, 2012
Hot Chip makes retro-flavored tunes so crisp that it’s difficult not to view their music with a cynical over-the-shoulder glance. “Remember when people thought the world was round?” they ask on In Our Heads opening track “Motion Sickness,” inviting the listener into their particular brand of midtempo, mid ’80s booty shaking logic. Rational people of the world, will we stand for this out-and-out absurdity?
The answer—of course—is “yes.”
Led by dance-rock oddballs Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, the British quintet’s fifth full-length is a celebration of life, love and getting down. The results are as effervescent as a cold glass of New Coke. “Celebrate the light that shines through the pain,” they command on “How Do You Do” against a toe-tapping backbeat of drum machines and side-winding synths. As far as album mission statements go, this is one of the best— perhaps second only to “Night and Day,” where Taylor drones, “I like Zapp not Zappa, so please quit your jibber jabber.”
Bringing it to a simmer works well for the group, whose previous album included the standout ballad “Alley Cats.” Nothing here meets that high-water mark, but it’s fun listening to them try, particularly on slow-burning love song “Look At Where We Are.” But it’s not the sentimentality we’re sticking around for.
What other band could transform a fondue pot’s worth of cheese into club-worthy gold? Making no effort to turn from their trademark sound (equal parts geek chic and smooth operator), the band sells the kitschy-thump sitcom-lite refrains of “Don’t Deny Your Heart” on the strength of their panache alone. By the bridge, it becomes difficult not to join the song’s built-in hypeman in a few grunts of approval. “Oh!” indeed. Campy? Well...yeah. But at the end of the day, even a cynic needs an excuse to smile. Meet you on the dancefloor.