Hot Chip

Coming on Strong

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On Coming on Strong, Hot Chip access the same wry, purposely casual sound that permeated the Beta Band's early material. Frail keyboard melodies play out over amateurish drum programming, with their lyrics a mix of winking boasts and the afterimages from a thousand stoned listens to old Stevie Wonder and Prince records. The sound works on "Keep Fallin'," "Beach Party," and -- shocker -- "Down with Prince" (a song made to do the robot to if there ever was one). Joe Goddard and Alexis Taylor know they'll never be Prince, never be Stevie. So they use awkwardness to their advantage, couching every reference and blurping bass lick in half-seriousness. "You Ride, We Ride, in My Ride" sounds really unfinished, with weird gaps between the harmonies and vintage keys. It could be a bunch of guys trying earnestly to write a Super Furry Animals song but failing, to hilarious result. And yet, when its rhythms pick up, the song becomes something listenable and even fun, its titular catch phrase floating over the simplistic music like rap lyrics used casually between friends. This is endearing -- Hot Chip's sense of humor is as contagious as their knack for reinvention is obvious. But those traits can't make Coming on Strong sound any less unfinished or even tossed off at times.

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