For a band best known for sputtering, retro-tinged dance songs, a fourth album of dance music should not come as a surprise. But “One Life Stand’’ feels remarkably different from its older siblings - like a Hot Chip album that has been raised on a steady diet of Reddi-wip, bubble gum-flavored ice cream, and Xanax.
Please bear in mind that none of this is bad, unless you have an aversion to pop music that has the ability to burrow and dwell in your head like an Amazonian insect. There is a new energy and focus acting as the perfect foil to Hot Chip’s lyrics, which have always been remarkably clever, particularly in the emotionally stunted realm of dance music.
“One Life Stand’’ is still, inescapably, a Hot Chip album. The band’s music has always been fueled by the difference between lead singer Alexis Taylor’s melancholy voice and the slow build, bounce, and layering of electronics over it. But with “One Life Stand’’ the band ups the ante by taking on New Order at its own game. Effervescent melodies rise to new heights around Taylor’s deadpanning.
When the band stops to catch its breath outside the disco, stunning beauty emerges in the richly textured, shadowy songs “Alley Cats’’ and “Keep Quiet.’’ The band has traded the precocious electro-shoegaze of “And I Was a Boy From School’’ for the throbbing, existential dance of “Thieves in the Night’’ and in the process has found a strong and anthemic new direction. (Out tomorrow)