Music » CD Reviews

Hot Chip

Made in the Dark (Astralwerks)

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Hot Chip's funky new-wave electro-pop can be super-snooty and way self-conscious. But face it — it's nearly impossible to play this sort of smirking dance pop without at least a hint of irony. Loaded with skittering beats, Made in the Dark's eclectic palette outstrips those of most electronic acts, alternating snappy and sleepy arrangements — most of which are cribbed from Roxy Music, Portishead, and a wild blend of northern soul, dance punk, and lovelorn pop.

Not everything on the London quintet's fourth album works, but it does cut a wide swath — from the calypso big-beat of "Shake a Fist" to "Bendable Poseable"'s krautrock robotics. Some of the drowsier soft-rock moments — like the minimalist electro-funk of "We're Looking for a Lot of Love" and the title tune, a piano ballad — will please Mamma Mia! fans, but the New Order-like "One Pure Thought" and bouncy R&B of "Wrestlers" more than make up for those. Hot Chip's smart, genre-plundering productions sound so self-satisfied and perky, it's little wonder they're sometimes called precious. But you'll be too busy shaking your head and ass to care.

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