To be honest, it could go either way. While their last two LPs each boasted a pair of singles as catchy as anything else released that year ('Over And Over' and 'Boy From School' / 'Ready For The Floor' and 'Shake A Fist'), this album lacks a similarly universal pop moment. Worry not though, because despite its lack of an all-conquering, in-your-face floorfiller, One Life Stand is still a lovely thing to behold. Before its release, singer/synther/songwriter Joe Goddard claimed that the album was a "quite simple, gentle, focused" affair. It was a comment that certainly got our attention, but one that turns out to be only half true.
In fact, Hot Chip kick off One Life Stand with no little energy. Opener 'Thieves In The Night' is all pounding drums and power, a six-minute stomp that gradually layers on instruments until you're totally immersed in wave-after-wave of sound. 'Hand Me Down Your Love', 'I Feel Better' and the title track serve up a similar mix of bouncing electropop and melancholia, while the hard-edged disco of 'We Have Love' gives lie to the suggestion that Hot Chip have gone all soft on us. Elsewhere though, Hot Chip really do give us laid back, and they mostly get away with it too.
While the throwaway 'Brothers' and Susan Boyle-inspired 'Keep Quiet' are the album's weakest moments, 'Slush' and 'Alley Cats' are a pair of electro-ballads that fully realise the group's goal of creating stripped-back, organic, poppy soul music that's still beautifully shiny and futuristic. The latter is especially impressive, disarming with its floating melodies before the lyrics puncture your heart with a sneaky sucker punch ("Wear each other's heads like hats / Speak in tongues like alley cats / Cradle them in both our laps / And we die alone"). As long as they can amass enough support to keep making records as individual and wonderful as this, Hot Chip can chart at #6 or #106 and their fans won't care.