sun 15/09/2019

CD: Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstasy | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstasy

CD: Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstasy

Growing up in style with the indietronic fivesome

No weak tracks: 'Bath Full of Ecstasy'

Nineteen years, seven albums and untold side projects into their career, Hot Chip have for the first time enlisted outside producers: Rodaidh McDonald and French disco/house don Philippe Zdar. And it's worked. Over the course of the previous albums, the band had steadily evolved from ramshackle and rather self-consciously quirky writers and players to a far slicker operation. Notably this was informed by Alexis Taylor's broadening as a songwriter through various experiments and collaborations, and Joe Goddard's deep immersion in bittersweet deep house music, both solo and in 2 Bears – but the entire band clearly grew together as a unit, too.

This time, though, that maturing has accelerated and then some. There's a high-res disco shine to the sound, which is mirrored in the songwriting, which has sloughed off almost all the remaining archness, and distils its themes of memory, loss, longing and hope to devastating purity. Like the greatest disco and house songs, it constantly evokes finding moments of light in the darkest times, the bliss of even momentary release from suffering. This is often ecstasy in the original sense of the Greek ekstasis - a step outside oneself, or of normality.

It's extremely grown-up pop music with a real kick, first on an instant level and then again, even more so, once it's got under your skin. There isn't a weak track here: even though the dark “Hungry Child” and the devastating “Melody of Love” made for strong singles, just about any other song could have been picked. It's precisely what Hot Chip should be doing at this point, an impressive step up, and deserves to reach really big audiences. It also opens up the exciting question of where they go next: will they up the production values even further? It's not hard to hear this level of songwriting and structure easily expanding to fill 10-minute orchestral disco epics, or co-writes for major stars. On this evidence, the world should be their oyster.

@joemuggs

It's extremely grown up pop music with a real kick, first on an instant level and then again once it's got under your skin

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.