More of the same, and still great
Purveyors of quirky and academic synth pop, Hot Chip are out with a new album A Bath Full of Ecstasy. Not far from their beginnings sonically, Hot Chip have been making bubbly, danceable and thoroughly interesting pop music since the early 2000s. This will probably please longtime fans, and while unwavering stylistically, the group still experiments with vocals, creative production techniques and song structure.
“Melody of Love” is a spacious ’80s synth ballad, with crisp keys, luscious pads and four to the floor groove. “Spell” is an early album highlight, the production is simple but perfectly retro and infectious, the singing is also excellent. The way the vocoded sections backup the main vocal melody is satisfying. “A Bath of Ecstasy” is smooth love song with some witty lyrics and a wonderful vocoded chorus. The production is structured and dense yet accessible and never dull. Whiny guitars, synthetic melodies and vocal mix together in an enjoyable sonic soup.
“Hungry Child” features more ’80s motifs, bright synth chords, harmonized melancholic vocals and a groovy drum groove. The track is extremely infectious, sexy and full of character. “Positive” is more abstract and cerebral. Synth notes float around bright arpeggios and conversational call and response vocals. “Clear Blue Sky” is a laid back atmospheric track with floaty strings and quirky harmonized singing. The track exhibits great dynamic range and structure, at first allowing the vocals to take center stage, then slowly bringing the production into focus.
Hot Chip focuses on their strengths and shows growth in song craft and production value. Their music is interesting, fun and at times genius. The nine-track album is consistent, focused and diverse. Everything is in place, the vocals are emotional and dynamic and A Bath Full of Ecstasy is truly a pleasure to spin.