Hot Chip’s soft electropop is anything but middle of the road – it’s love or hate. One Life Stand is their fourth studio album, and is a mixed bag of standout tracks and one-listen flops.
The album begins with a strong opening track called “Thieves in the Night,” which starts off sounding like Coldplay’s X&Y era. However, it turns into a pop song with a lot of effects piled in the background that play off each other nicely. The good times continue with the second track, “Hand Me Down Your Love,” which features some staccato piano layered over a driving drumbeat (including MSTRKRFT-like hand claps) and ambient effects (including strings) – not to mention vocal bridges reminiscent of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The title track is disappointing, as the repetitive beeping in the background begins to drive you insane when you inevitably realize that it’s been there the whole song and it hasn’t changed. “Slush” is an interesting departure from the electronic effects, as it is constructed as a pretty straight song made up of piano, soft percussion, and layered vocals. But the biggest problem is “We Have Love,” since anyone who thinks that the chipmunk-voice is a good choice in modern music deserves a punishment unfit for print.
One Life Stand is hit-and-miss, so if you’re thinking about buying it from iTunes, choose your songs carefully.