Moroccan Role: Hot Chip - <i>Coming On Strong</i>

Moroccan Role

A Totally Kiler Music/MP3 Blog.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hot Chip - Coming On Strong

Rating: 57/100

With their forthcoming album The Warning due in May and with them garnering tons of attention on the blogs lately, I figured I'd review their debut full-length which was released November 29, 2005 on Astralwerks.

Ultimately, Hot Chip is best enjoyed as a side dish. Hint: in small portions.*

There's a certain aura of pretense surrounding these guys which is strengthened by lines like: "I'm like Stevie Wonder, but I can see things", "Give up all you suckas, we the tightest mothafuckas", and "You peelin' potatoes while we sonic alligators". Mind you, these fine examples of lyrical profundity all appear in one song, "Keep Fallin'".

But beyond their occassional sophomoric flirtation with faux-gangsta posturing and sometimes downright stupid lyrics, there lies a vague sense of sincerity and a somewhat endearing tongue-in-cheek charm in these sparse electronic soundscapes. An impressive stylistic diversity is present on Coming on Strong; from the above-mentioned white-boy 'thug-pop' of "Keep Fallin'", to R&B, soul, and electronica. Hell, the impressive "Crap Kraft Dinner" features an extended saxophone outro for christsakes. The lo-fi buzzes, beeps, and casiotones do little to guise the group's evident musical knowledge (clearly music nerds) and a laundry list of influences is readily apparent-- including, but certainly not limited to, four artists name-checked on the album: Stevie Wonder, Prince, Yo La Tengo, and the brothers Ween.

While frequently sounding unfocused and, at times, even blatantly tossed-off, the most conspicuous flaw is the length of the record. At 14 songs and about 65 minutes, Coming on Strong would have greatly benefited from more careful editing. The album is front-loaded and second half drags considerably. Three or so tracks could have been removed and would not have been missed. The most obvious of these being "Shining Escalade", which sounds way too much like a tune Coldplay's Chris Martin would write for a Spike Lee "Joint", and the sweet but utterly forgettable "One on One".

I have never really read Alternative Press (seems painfully generic), but they provided this very apt description of Coming on Strong: "Could pass for a set of lo-fi synth demos Sir Paul McCartney cooked up one long weekend for shits and giggles."

File under: Soulful, lo-fi laptop geek-hop.

*so what if their name most likely references chips of the micro variety and not any sort of food...admit it, the lame joke still kinda works

From Coming On Strong:

Hot Chip - "Keep Fallin'"

Hot Chip - "Take Care" *recommended*

Hot Chip - "Crap Kraft Dinner"

What the critics have said:

Pitchfork: 8.0

CokeMachineGlow: 78%

Prefix Magazine: 3.5/5

Metacritic: 65

Bonuses: These tunes are from their upcoming album The Warning due out in May:

Hot Chip - "The Warning" *recommended*

Hot Chip - "Boy From School"


Anonymous Trotskey said...

Here's my suggestion to Hot Chip: Try a lot harder. Seriously, I'm not sure if I'd go so far as to call these lazy compositions completed songs. They are so devoid of any kind of layering, depth or substance that the cup seems a good deal less than half full, so to speak. Any competent artist could compose an entire album of this crap in a day or so. When it comes right down to it Hot Chip is definitely not hot shit.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Knaf said...

I disagree. There's something very catchy in these songs (I've been trying to get "Keep Fallin'" out of my head all day.. or actually I didn't mind it being there!), in their hooks and melodies. It may not be the best lyrical effort ever, so what? If these 'competent artists' could compose entire albums of this music in a day, I'd say come on, bring us some more of this kind of music if it's so little effort!

I'd agree with the editing out some stuff sentiment in the post. From the songs from their upcoming album (which I'll have a lookout for) it sounds like it's tighter. I *love* The Warning.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Knaf said...

Dang, I forgot why I was posting: to say thank you! for introducing me to this.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Funtime OK has moved to

please update your link

12:16 AM  
Anonymous BSUID=1; FRQSTR=19039059x219050:1:357x219050:1:357x219050:1:357x232133:1:1440|19039059|19039059|1903 said...

I tried to download a couple of these Hot Chip songs and it gave me error messages--is it me or the uplink? Thanks.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous matt said...

i have removed all files from the server i was using. So, you will get error messages on all the tracks I personally uploaded.

Regular posting will resume sometime in the near future...but, for right now, I am bored with MP3 blogging.

7:50 PM  

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