Hot Chip: A Bath Full of Ecstasy

After four years, English synth-pop band Hot Chip returns with a new album entitled A Bath Full of Ecstasy. Since their first album in 2005, Coming on Strong, Hot Chip has proven to be innovators of the electro-pop genre. With great singles like “A-B-C” and “Bad Luck,” the album represented a fresh new style of pop. Sonically expanding on atmospheric textures to bring a new mood. Fast-forward into the future, they are still not out of original ideas. Their newest album pushes the pop-scope even further as they bend genres together like dream-pop, trip-hip, and dance.

Beginning with a 70s feel emerges as the crescendo builds into a colorful grove in the song “Melody of Love.” Properly titled, the whimsical piano and vocals open the doors to the retro disco era as the synth prepares us for the ride. The wait and stretch of the build-up create the perfect amount of intensity, for the beat drops two-minutes into the song. Immediately, a transformation occurs and sets the bar high for the following tracks.

Without hesitation, the deep house elements are introduced in the second track, “Spell.” The four/four beat unapologetically punches through the speakers as the 909 drums carries a significant amount of attack. Acting as a minimal sequence, the twitchy melody encapsulates their dark side, especially when the bass-synth comes it. The song is meant to create movement and capture a specific mood in order to draw attention to the dance floor.

Hot Chip are no amateurs when it comes to synthesis. Their ability to create unique symphonic embellishments demonstrates their knowledge of electronic music. For example, in the song “Echo,” Hot Chip uses different variations of high-end arpeggiators over an 80s Casio-like keyboard. The variety of arpeggiation that occurs causes a multitude of movement that helps the song progress till the end. Inevitably, the beat just gives it more flavor. The same goes for the song “Hungry Child.” Beginning with a delicate sequence that subtly hovers under the vocals. Eventually, the bass arpeggiator and beat drop and layers themselves over the track to takes us into a new space. By using carefully thought out sequences with the right parameters of triangle and square wave oscillators, they are able to reach new heights in their sound.

After being a band for over ten years, one would think that there is a limit to ideas and exploration in one specific genre. Hot Chip demonstrates that boundaries can be pushed while still staying true to their original sound. In A Bath Full of Ecstasy, fans can immediately discern the band. It is as if people understand that Hot Chip has a specific sound that no one has, and are able to push it to wherever they feel it fits. Songs like “No God” are indications of their past ethereal pop hits. Therefore, they will continue to be crowd-pleasers simply because they are true originals to themselves – not needing to prove anything besides themselves. An inspiring message that a band can send just by doing with the do best, explore and be.

Rating: 8.5/10

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