2008:  Hot Chip, ‘Ready For The Floor’
2000s:  Hot Chip, ‘Over And Over’
2010:  Hot Chip, ‘One Life Stand’
2012:  Hot Chip, ‘Let Me Be Him’
So, basically, Hot Chip have been heading this way. Regular readers of Jukebox Junior (hi Mum!) will know my feelings about Hot Chip – they should be right up my street, but something’s always missing, at least over the course of an album – but I started to feel different this year, mainly down to a cracking Glastonbury set that was a ‘moment’ from start to finish. ‘Huarache Lights’, thumping organic rhythm, cheeky sample later repurposed, nerdy bounce, talkbox, joy of records, everything, was already my single of the year; the gig just made sure.
“All Hot Chip songs sound the same,” says Junior’s mum and then attempts to sing ‘Over And Over’ and ‘Ready For The Floor’ over the top. I don’t think that’s right. In fact I always argue they’re wildly variable – but, um, I’m just talking quality there, aren’t I? They have a certain mode and occasionally enhance it with a spine-shivering hook, that’s the Hot Chip way. A singles band? They’re probably the most consistent presence in my year-end charts but I can never go crazy about their albums, so yeah. Which makes it all the weirder that ‘Let Me Be Him’ is just an album track.
Half a dozen singles from an OK album and you don’t release the best track?
Junior’s kinder, if a bit avant-garde. She breakdances in slow motion then tries to imitate Hot Chip’s banks of synths on her Nintendo DS. Hey Alexis, Joe, Al, the others – you’re inspiring a whole new generation!
I don’t quite know where the song’s going. Let me be “him” – who? Your man? The guy with all the ideas? Everything I ever wanted to be? But words are just adornments when the central pull of ‘Let Me Be Him’ is a wordless chorus, somewhere between Enigma’s ‘Return To Innocence’ and New Kids On The Block’s ‘You Got It (The Right Stuff)’. It’s neither as hammy nor as airheaded as those though. It’s a euphoric, embracing release that draws us into Hot Chip’s circle, bathes us in the generosity that characterises all their best work. And this is one of their best.