Band Hot Chip answers a big question: Why make sense?

British synthpop group Hot Chip released an album "Why Make Sense" in a perfectly fried time for Tempe, Arizona. The dancier numbers are perfect for the "sense" part of your night when it's 95 degrees out and the heavy themes are great for the "why" part of your day, when it's 195. 

One song was released earlier this year and has already gained meme-like prominence in my usual rotations of "fun songs to dance to in the living room." 

"Huarache Lights" is one of these songs. It is much more horizontal, thematically and in its form, compared to the 2012 album "In Our Heads." One of the most haunting lines of the song is: "Machines are great but best when they come to life." Just some kooky irony here; Hot Chip, the electronic pop group, wants to show you how scary technology is. 

The rest of the tracks, notably "Love is the Future," "Cry For You" and "Need You Now" all seem to point in a certain direction with what the band thinks the conclusion of relationships usually is. I'll let our readership figure that connection out after a careful listen to the tracks listed. Something that I hadn't really expected was a featured credit on "Love is the Future." 

Posdnuos, of rap group De La Soul, directly referenced themes, while the rest of the song's interesting melodies went in one ear and out the other. This song, to make it all even more ridiculous, featured blue grass violin shuffling. Alright, guys.

The title track ("Why Make Sense") was one that took advantage of all the electronic tropes—and exploded them. Lyrics bordering on absurdity, combined with a thick underpinning of noise and drum, begin with the lead singer, followed by a chorus from the entire band. The tenuous fuzz, again with crescendoing drums, answer the question posed by the title of this song and this album: "Why make sense," the line begins, "when the world around you refuses."

As we continue to weather the weather, it's important not to get too caught up in songs like "White Wine and Fried Chicken," my least favorite on the album. It was too straightforward for me, and I was kind of over/kind of impatient with the weirdness. It happens sometimes, and is a good way to know the limits of a certain type of musical expression.   

This album sounds like a diamond being created. Its pressurized, chemical, eternal quality makes me think of glittery dance floors and kaleidoscope constellations in a nightclub. Despite the sheen, the music is horizontal, at times sad. I think, more than anything else in a summer album, you need highs and lows to keep the kids plugging in their aux cords. 

Reach the reporter at pnorthfe@asu.edu or follow @peternorthfelt on Twitter. 


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