Hot Chip

The Warning (Astralwerks)

Hot Chip seems perfectly crafted for the daily hype-fire that is the blogosphere: tea-party Timbaland rhythms, cute French boys and vocals that vary from fey to frigid falsetto. But while the band packages well, it sounds like New Order in its pajamas turning Prince into a club-drugged handbell choir. The molasses house drip of Warning's beats provide little contrast, with the exhaustion trail of the vocals flattening into monotone planes of synth and boyish mumbling. Hot Chip's style is implosively unvaried. On half-assed up-tempo numbers such as "Over and Over," it actually sounds as if the band is satirizing its own smug sloth. Remixers have been Hot Chip's most helpfully observant critics: Many of the outfit's songs get energetically transformed into sweetly clanging dance genius once the beats pop sexily into more skip than slip and the keyboards pull back from the dangerous cliff of John Tesh. The Warning is not anything close to a waste, but the coy, toyish excess of shiny form over substance makes it an instantly dated pleasure.

 
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