Whilst primarily comprised of straight-four, pulsating club tunes, In Our Heads shows the band as a happier, more joyous one – especially in comparison to One Life Stand and 2008’s Made In The Dark – but it is far from being another mapped-out pop album. Perhaps the first clue is in the lengths of the songs themselves. With only one song dropping below four-minutes – calling in at a close 3’59” – and two songs venturing over the seven-minute mark, each track could be seen as its own composition: as each subtle element of the mix is introduced the pieces extend naturally until they fall to a natural climax. The tracks don’t seem forced or unnecessarily elongated and even when the band drop in to pure repetition they manage to create both the most experimental and most interesting song on the whole album. ‘Flutes’, the track in question, is an odyssey of Ibizan synthesisers, sampled vocals, and densely-packed melodies that fuse together to create an obscure yet euphoric mix that highlights Hot Chip at both their most “left-field” and club-friendly.
‘Look At Where We Are’ and ‘Now There Is Nothing’ still retain elements of the sobering mood found on One Life Stand, providing emotional respite from the more zealous, body-jumping tracks frequenting the album, whilst perhaps reaffirming the bands’ varied songwriting skills. Alongside these, ‘Let Me Be Him’, ‘These Chains’, and ‘Always Been Your Love’ remain more restrained and relaxed against the intensity of ‘Don’t Deny Your Heart’ and ‘Ends of the Earth,’ giving the album a comfortable mix that balances out the many emotions being channeled through each song. With each song being completely differentiable from the rest, Hot Chip allow themselves to create unique sounds that give specific tracks their character. The airy synthesizers in ‘Now There Is Nothing’ contrasts wholly against the menacing downward spirals and dark metallic tones of ‘Ends of the Earth’; the almost-entirely guitar-led ‘Look At Where We Are’ sets itself apart from the ten surrounding it with its strikingly natural sounds – an observation that would mean little to a band whose atmospheres were exclusively synthesized.
The overriding feeling throughout In Our Heads is of joy; however, it might be more an increased appreciation in the mere act of making music itself. The band sound comfortable within their own uniqueness, an enviable trait amongst bands with such diversity, and the band work harmoniously together throughout. At no point does any particular part steal overall focus and, whilst Alexis Taylor’s voice is ahead in the mix, his reliance on the synth melodies below him settles the equilibrium. Each track progressively evolves from the tamest of bass lines into the most full, fun, and at-times experimental of songs that Hot Chip have so far made and it seems that the band are more comfortable for it. Without rejecting the vulnerability of One Life Stand, In Our Heads is shaped perfectly to create a mix of songs that differ in their ways while retaining that characteristic Hot Chip sound.
In Our Heads will be released on the 11th of June via Domino.
Full tour dates can be found HERE.