What initially made Prince compelling was his knack for control in a climate of danger. London quartet Hot Chip’s arty whiteboy electropop/soul approximation is an inversion, gently letting it rip in a Nerf biosphere. The Warning‘s cover displays a series of pleasantly colored geometric shapes with rectangular planks wedged in them—children’s toys. Hall & Oates is naked rugby next to the celebration of “Colors”; mental-hospital walls are often teal because it makes people feel safe. Hot Chip feel safe. And a little creepy.
The hairiest song here is “Over and Over”—though it vaguely compares a person having sex to “a monkey with a miniature cymbal,” at least it acknowledges sex. Plus, it has a distorted bassline. Hot Chip might not pony up their wild desires in front of the girls, but they’ll drop a couple tears on the subway ride home and find inspiration elsewhere, while the city lets loose without them.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 6, 2006