Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Hot Chip – Melody of Love

Spoilers: video does not end with Alexis shooting laser beams from his eyes…


Ian Mathers: Depending on your taste and/or emotional state Hot Chip are both easy to love and easy to deride, and honestly as long as they’re determined to keep their hearts this firmly on their sleeves, I can’t see either of those things changing even a little. Nearly 20 years (!) in they don’t seem to be slowing down, but as you’d expect for a band that has few actual “hits” but still manages to headline festivals, I fully expect this to be manna for the faithful but not necessarily effect many conversions. To me, the lineage they’re in stretches from more obvious references like New Order, the Pet Shop Boys, and house music, to plenty of other great UK pop weirdos/aesthetes like 10cc (cf. the video), and I find “Melody of Love”, like many of their best songs, effortlessly moving in both a physical and emotional sense. It seems very Hot Chip that maybe the most directly soaring chorus from the new album is the one that has the most melancholy baked right into the text. Like many of my other favourite Hot Chip songs, it makes me think of some lines from Joe Goddard’s solo album (sung there by bandmate Alexis Taylor): “make your own kind of problems/make something out of your fears/make your own music/let it bring you to tears.”

Scott Mildenhall: An amazing thing about Alexis Taylor is that the voice that’s so suited to mess-arounds like “Night & Day” does sincerity just as well. One Life Stand wouldn’t be half as good without his vulnerable quaver — or for that matter Joe Goddard’s counterpoint — and it’s the same here. Melancholy’s full breadth was not known until it passed through him. So sad, but so secure, Hot Chip again come closer than all-comers to emanating the physical reality of human warmth through sound.

Katherine St Asaph: I don’t recall hearing any synthpop track recently with this much late-late-career-rock-band-touring-too-big-arenas (if the hyphenate’s too unwieldy, substitute “U2”) energy.

Will Adams: Corny as hell (that sermon interlude!), but with Alexis Taylor’s delicate warble and the numerous synth baubles wrapped around the track, it’s dazzling enough to get lost in and surrender to its cheese.

Alfred Soto: A song as sunlight room, with crisply buttered treats on white dishes. Hot Chip excel at tracks like “Melody of Love.” Finding an equilibrium between the requirements of the dance floor and keeping our ears satisfied fascinates them as it did New Order. As their, ah, melodies become more dulcet they lose interest in kinetics. 

Iris Xie: A potentially pretty song ruined by some questionable choice in mixing. All the instruments seem stacked right behind the vocals, rendering the vocalist’s light voice as competition against the synths. The preacher bridge sounds tacked on in order to hammer home the line, “Do you have faith to feel / In this world?” Thing is, this ode to wanting one to open one’s heart and listen more to the world is at odds with this claustrophobic production.

Nicholas Donohoue: I love space-y, synth-y, too repetitious for its length nonsense as much as anyone, and for 2019 this is especially strong nonsense. So much to the point that it has slipped out of my mind since I started writing this, which quite honestly I’m counting as a pro.

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