Album 2: Hot Chip – One Life Stand
Track 2: Hand Me Down Your Love
Track 4: One Life Stand
Track 10: Take It In
In 1998, Jim Carrey had a niche. He was Ace Ventura, he was Dumb (or Dumber), he was screwball slapstick hilarious madcap brilliance. But then along came The Truman Show, and when he quit the rubber-faced kookiness and played it straight, it was quickly apparent what a brilliant actor he really was. He would return to comedy, but his less forced performances remain the more powerful.
One Life Stand is Hot Chip’s Truman Show moment. After three irreverent, jumbling albums that were frequently brilliant but never wholly loveable, and singles that were recklessly infectious but seldom appropriate off the dancefloor, here is a neatly organised record designed to sound as compelling as possible without resorting to gimmicks. It’s full of joy, excitement and considerable love; there’s precious little irony, and acres of sincerity.
That’s not to say there’s no sense of fun or choas – I Feel Better and We Have Love are perfect bouncing dancefloor fillers, and the arrangements across the whole record, all steel drums meet squelchy synths, are often reassuringly odd. Thankfully there’s no over-earnestness here either: the self-awareness involved in calling the album’s most romantic moment Slush is nicely modest, and the promo video for I Feel Better is one of the most WTF (and entertaining) pieces of film you’ll see all year.
Indeed, One Life Stand is unquestionably heartfelt. In between their last album and this, four of the five members of Hot Chip got married. For men in their late twenties and early thirties, this isn’t particularly remarkable, but it is emblematic of the maturity that’s all over One Life Stand. It’s a dangerous word, “maturity” – synonymous with “boring” and “sensible” – but not in this case: here is a mature record in that it knows itself well enough to have fun without showing off, to dazzle without being overeager and to be humble with no hint of false modesty. It’s an album as solid as its title’s vow: honest, passionate, and also the best thing the band have ever released.
Download One Life Stand or buy the physical editions direct from Hot Chip’s website
Stream One Life Stand on Spotify