Monday, February 11, 2008

Review: Made in the Dark

It's been about a week since Hot Chip dropped their new album Made in the Dark and I've had enough time to absorb the album for a proper review. The money shot on the album is that, while not like their previous effort this album lacks the truly amazing songs Hot Chip is capable of. On the other hand, it also lacks the songs that made it an album you had to occasionally skip tracks on. Instead, Made in the Dark is a solid album, playable from beginning to end. The album is front-loaded with the known songs with Shake a Fist and Ready for the Floor falling in the second and third spots respectively. Yet this is not necessarily a draw-back as you are left with another ten tracks of quality music that fit together like an album. In particular are the trio of tracks set in the middle of the album--Made in the Dark, One Pure Thought, Hold On--show the range of Hot Chips abilities. Even though Pitchfork wasn't enamored with the album for it's lack of distinctive hits and seeming continuation of their genre-splicing style without any forward movement.
Of course, I have to offer my disagreement. I don't believe in bands having some grand scheme in the way they release albums (except for Radiohead, who passed from this realm sometime in 1996 and came back superheroes). But I do believe that some albums are necessary in the career of a band. Where their slew of remixes and brilliant second album brought them hits and fame, this, their third album, shows the limits of their genre-jumping. The album the Pitchfork staff label as flawed but likable is probably the last of its kind for Hot Chip.
It goes without saying their production values are top-notch, but I think they will need in the future a producer who curtails some of their more self-conscious, fourth-wall breaking moments. The risk though, is that some of the fun will fall out of Hot Chip's style, but we won't know that until they ready their next album. I don't want them to become too serious. But considering their style thus far, I don't think that's too great of a risk. Either way, I do get the feeling that their next album will surpass The Warning in brilliance while maintain their album wide listenability.

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