Its probably fair to say that this album went unnoticed by the majority until they purchased ‘The Warning‘ (2006) and did a little backpedaling research. Those who did notice it generally gave it pretty mediocre to bad reviews assuming that Hot Chip would not be around for much longer. Well, I guess those assumptions were incorrect, because they’re still around, with three albums under their belt and another solo album released by vocalist Alexis Taylor.
Hot Chip have always been one of those sideline bands for me. I recognise that what they did for indie and electronic music around the years of 2005-2007 was incredibly important, they pretty much pioneered their own genre (what NME decided to label Nu Rave) and got a whole lot of people interested in neon clothing and glow sticks. The latter part is probably something alot of us feel they should apologise for now!
None of their three albums sit so well with me that I love every single track, but ‘Coming on Strong‘ probably comes the closest. OK, so its a little cringey at times in relation to their white boys rhymes, if you can call them that. ‘Keep Fallin‘ being the best example of this “Give up all you suckers we the tightest muthafuckas / And you never seen us talking shit before now / You peelin’ potatoes while we sonic alligators / Makin’ records sellin’ like we smokin’ crack now” – seriously…what? I like to think that its all abit tongue in cheek, infact, I’m almost certain of it, which makes it OK right?
To me, the best tracks on this album tend to be the ones with the least lyrics. I truly find the vocal combination of Joe Goddard and Alexis Taylor quite beautiful as I’ve always found effortless sounding, lazy vocals quite appealing. ‘Crap Kraft Dinner‘ showcases this idea perfectly, Taylor almost mumbles the simplistic lyrics over the steady, crawling beats creating quite the atmosphere if you’re in the mood to feel it. The horn solo’s as the track comes to an end give an 80’s feel which compliments the soulful bassline at the start of the next track ‘Down with Prince‘ perfectly.
‘You Ride, We Ride, In my Ride‘ begins like something you expect to appear on an album by The Postal Service or Bright Eyes, but as soon as the beat kicks in, it feels like a preview of what was to come on their second album two years later. Perhaps the first sign of some real energy across the ‘Coming on Strong‘ as a whole.
‘Baby Said‘ has always been my highlight of the album, I just love the simplicity of it. OK, it doesn’t really go anywhere or build momentum (much like the entire album) but something about it I find endearing. Its like the band stripped down their sound to its most basic form and laid it out bare in front of the listener leaving it vulnerable and open to attack. “My baby said she wanted some action / I said baby, I can’t give you that / I’m a simple man”.