Hot Chip is one of those electronic music oddities that always seems to function intelligently no matter how strange or intense their sounds may seem. It’s been fifteen years since the formation of the British indie band, and they’re still going strong. Why Make Sense? is perhaps their way of letting audiences know that they can still keep it fresh and new while proving their worth in the electronic genre, and as a result, the album is fun, bouncy, and wonderfully colorful.
It’s clear in opening track “Huarache Lights” and its mature, meticulous composition that each track following will do the same, and the addictive funk beat is something that thankfully remains as well. This attention to detail is no surprise, however, considering that this is the band’s sixth album to date and they’ve learned how to perfect their skills. Alexis Taylor’s flinty, falsetto vocals are still what makes this album shine, and it’s especially impressive in pop tracks like “Dark Night” and “Easy To Get.” This album is also especially interesting in what they choose to include in terms of its particular tone and emotion, and they mix up their perceptions of flow quite a bit. Title track “Why Make Sense?” is intense and translucent after the initial extraterrestrial shock in the instrumentals and overall well-rounded and nicely glitchy in tone, as well as the track “Started Right.” There are intense, brooding songs as well, one of the most spectacular being their single “Need You Now,” where the almost liquid synth and minimal, dark beats intertwine with three separate vocal tracks to create this atmospheric sound that is absolutely brilliant in composition, making it the best on the album. However, Hot Chip has proved over the years that they also have a sense of humor, which allows them to, barely, get away with humorously soulful tracks like “White Wine and Fried Chicken,” which vocally and instrumentally sounds like Taylor should be swaying back and forth in a bar attached to a broken stand up microphone. That being said, at times it can feel like you’re being jerked around while listening, but considering the album’s title, it’s not something that we can really blame them for in the end. In fact, this deviation from the norm is what keeps things interesting – when done correctly.
Even though Why Make Sense? has it’s confusing moments, if you listen between the lines, it’s still a fantastic confirmation of what this seasoned band still has to offer the electronic genre. Hot Chip’s intellectual, introspective ways of creating music have stood the test of time, and it’s because they try to dive deeper within themselves each time and pull out something even stranger than before, while at the same time understanding that music, no matter how conditioned for mindless bobbing and swaying, should always make you feel something.
photo courtesy of the artist