Hot Chip, Brixton Academy, London
Friday 19 October 2012
Anyone still ready to dismiss Hot Chip as geeks or middle-class ironists would be disabused of that notion as soon as the south London five-piece appear.
Blinding lights pulse at disorientating speed in time with a fierce percussive onslaught. It is a direct way of gaining attention and while their set takes plenty of diversions, this opening gambit marks their intent.
Fifth album In Our Heads features some of group’s strongest writing to date with its combination of thumping house tunes and affecting ballads, though while the past decade has seen this group develop steadily, they have stayed far enough under the radar to be taken for granted.
A penchant for clunky wordplay and a long-term passion for US r’n’b combined with a lab-rat air may help explain why they have been perversely overlooked for this year’s Mercury Prize shortlist in favour of Ben Howard. Still, the group have managed to fill this imposing venue over two nights, showing they have maintained a loyal following.
Instead of simply sequencing familiar recorded sounds, Hot Chip have stripped down their tunes and rebuilt them, sometimes with pleasingly divergent results. Drummer Sarah Jones adds a punk-funk edge to the beat while other band members help out with mammoth polyrhythmic breakdowns.
The eighties-referencing, chrome-gleaming keys from their current album are dropped in favour of Chic-style disco-funk guitar. There is a cheery, collegiate feel about this line-up, with the dishevelled Owen Clarke the chattiest member, while vocal duties continue to be shared between Alexis Taylor’s high vocal and the bear-like Joe Goddard’s more lugubrious growl.
His paean to this fraternal love, "Brothers", is transformed into a hypnotic space-rock excursion, with unhinged free-jazz touches from Terry Edwards’s saxophone. By contrast, the remorselessly catchy "Over And Over" needs virtually no adaptation, while more recent, less propulsive material successfully maintains momentum.
With its wordless group chanting, "Let Me Be Him" shows the band continue to break new ground and provides a lovely close to the set; earlier, the expansive cosmic house of "Flutes" unfolded at a leisurely pace and majestically built layers of warm synths.
Two unexpected treats come with the inclusion of a snatch from Fleetwood Mac’s "Everywhere" and the appearance of vocalist Valentina for Goddard’s solo house belter "Gabriel". At the end he asks tentatively, “Are you coming back tomorrow? It’s going to be very similar.” Can’t imagine anyone feeling short-changed by that.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 2 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
This house and dental clinic 'piled up like bricks on the brink of collapsing' is why Japan wins at architecture
Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Jurassic World trailer already facing criticism from palaeontologists
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'