Album of the Week: Hot Chip, A Bath Full of Ecstasy

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Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstasy
Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstasy, available June 21, 2019 on Domino Records (Courtesy Domino Records)

In the early 2000s, Hot Chip paved the way for the flood of indie electronic music that followed their breakout success with The Warning. Their sound was part of a movement on both sides of the Atlantic that embraced the alternative dance music of the early 1980s with a post-punk sensibility. Hot Chip's seventh studio album is one of their most listenable and versatile albums of their career. As Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard have used their solo projects for experimentation, Hot Chip seems to be the musical space for them to come back to their sonic home planet. They never quite leave the orbit of their precisely crafted indie electro sound on A Bath Full of Ecstasy.

Like the title suggests, you can immerse yourself in the new material on the dance floor or with headphones in a dark room. The album marks the first time the band has worked with notable outside producers. They enlisted French house pioneer Philippe Zdar (also a member of Cassius), and UK production mogul Rodaidh McDonald to collaborate on the making of A Bath Full of Ecstasy. While some critics might suggest that Hot Chip's sound peaked a decade ago, the new songs are better than anything they released early in their career. They might not have the immediate hooks of the more playful "Boy From School" and "Over and Over," but it makes no sense to compare their work in 2019 to their early songwriting. The band has moved into a phase of their artistry that surpasses your expectations. They aren't working towards writing a pop hit — even though they have been tapped to do that work for others over the years — and the result is songs with emotion and meaning.

The lead song, "Melody of Love" is a melancholy song masked by a title that suggests a different tone. The official first single, "Hungry Child," has the same effect of seducing you with rhythm and then breaking your heart with stories of longing, wanting and waiting for love. There is no lack of production between the words on A Bath Full of Ecstasy but somehow Hot Chip strikes the perfect balance between their deep arrangements and the melody carried by Alexis Taylor. It's an album that is as perfect on first listen as the last.
Hot Chip's new album A Bath Full of Ecstasy is out now on Domino Records.

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