15 December 2010
BEST ALBUMS OF 2010: # 3
3. Hot Chip - ONE LIFE STAND
Increasingly disappointed by some of the albums I anticipated most this year, I found ample pleasure in others that I had absolutely no expectations for, like the fourth full-length by this British male quintet. Although sporadically capable of a great single, much of their previous stuff scanned like the output of prankster, laptop-wielding geeks. Here, they beef up the instrumentation to symphonic levels but also court the heart rather than just the feet or the funny bone. You can still dance to most of it (the irresistible Tamla-groove-with-strings of “Hand Me Down Your Love”; the title track’s oddly cheery Depeche Mode-isms), but the lyrics (“I only want to be your one life stand”, “It’s a wild love that I have for my brothers”) and Alexis Taylor’s androgynous but ever more expressive vocals exude sincerity and deep emotion without feeling sappy. And practically every song here could be a single.
Favorite Tracks: Hand Me Down Your Love, One Life Stand, Take It In, I Feel Better, Brothers