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A Bath Full of Ecstasy: Hot Chip

A BATH FULL OF ECSTASY – HOT CHIP (Domino Records)

It is lazy to simply say that Hot Chip are an amalgam of various great British synthpop/electronic/house music acts of the past 30 odd years (as well as a dash of Talking Heads). They are this of course, but also much more. Over 6 albums and 15 years, Hot Chip do what all the best music acts are able to do…create their own signature sound that evolves, just enough to stay fresh, and also timeless. Accolades aside, I was a little nervous about listening to this album. 2015’s ‘Why Make Sense’ was a very good, but not a great album, with a few too many tracks going through the motions. It was a 7.5 or 8 out of 10 album, but compared with 2010’s ‘One Life Stand’ and 2012’s ‘In Our Heads’, it sounded slightly tired. When I heard of the (now tragically departed) French pop producer Philippe Zdar being on board Hot Chip’s 7th album, I was intrigued but a small part of me felt Hot Chip had lost the confidence to do their own thing, and maybe, just maybe, they were beginning to run out of ideas.

I was wrong. This album will be on loop constantly for the immediate and distant future. It glistens, throbs and soothes throughout its’ 9 tracks that clock just under 50 minutes. ‘Melody of Love’ and ‘Spell’ hit you with an euphoric 1-2 and ooze love in a world, A world where you question your “faith to feel” on ‘Melody of Love’ specifically, to which the answer is a resounding YES. The passion doesn’t stop there, Alexis Taylor’s choir-boy voice has a quality of tingling the spine as he has done so many times before, with Felix’s synths fluttering like electronic messages of the heart. But as with all things Hot Chip, each lovingly crafted track is about the sum of all the band members souls.

Lead single ‘Hungry Child’ is a classy, but straightforward Detroit House banger, albeit with a message of trying to hold on to love and truth. ‘Positive’ bounces along and improves the spirits like a headphone elixir. ‘Clear Blue Skies’ and the title track are both obviously Franco-influenced, the former very Air-esque and the latter a hybrid of Daft Punk and Erasure that gels superbly. Closer ‘No God’ builds up with a mantra for hope and is ironically Hot Chip being spiritual, something that Joe Goddard has done before with the superb 2 Bears track, ‘Church’.

‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’ is outstanding, and this wonderful band that turned my head with its’ abstract lyrics of monkeys, cymbals and snapping off heads, from 2006’s ‘The Warning’, has produced an album that will be a soundtrack to dance, think and feel to for the rest of this decade and beyond. A magnificent album.

9/10

Key Tracks: ‘Positive’; ‘Melody of Love’;’Clear Blue Skies’;’No God’;’Hungry Child’.

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