All of which leads us to their eagerly-anticipated third album, Made In The Dark. Whether it will bring them the sort of cross-over success won by The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim in the nineties remains to be seen, but, considering the number of potential hits on this record, it deserves a decent shot. The methodology behind Hot Chip's success is based on keeping things simple. Like all great pop acts they have two forms of songs: happy ones you can dance to and sad ones you can weep about. It's easy to see why the band were connected to Kylie Minogue during the build-up to the album's release, for Made In The Dark, in many ways, is a like a modern-day Stock Aitken Waterman album - minus, of course, Rick Astley.
From the moment we hear the first bars of 'Out At The Pictures', to the final forlorn moments of 'In The Privacy of Our Love', there are very few moments on this album that don't completely smother you in love and charm. 'Shake A Fist' starts quite innocuously, with the vocals laid over a restrained, twisting samba beat, but, two minutes in, morphs into a truly spectacular dance-floor smash. As if a bunch of eight-year-olds have been let loose in the Klaxons' recording studio, it features two-and-a-half minutes of squelching, screaming and 'zoom-zoom' effects to keep us body-poppin' well into the summer. And, if you haven't already heard the lead single, 'Ready For The Floor', well, you're missing out on a true ambient disco beauty.
The crunching, robotic 'Bendable Poseable' is equally majestic, but the album's highlight is undoubtedly 'Hold On' - all six minutes of it. Based around a juicy, finger-clicking rhythm that Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson probably dropped on the studio floor while making Thriller, it houses a chorus that's a million times more addictive than anything Girls Aloud put on their last album. However, what pushes Made In The Dark above its predecessor, 2006's The Warning, is the band's new-found ability to craft down-tempo, laid-back tracks that don't send us to sleep. Sweet and innocent, the likes of the title track and 'In The Privacy Of Our Love' provide respite from the album's general air of synth-pop frivolity.
Low points? Well, kooky tunes like 'Don't Dance' and 'Wrestlers' will only fuel naysayers who view Hot Chip as nothing more than "wacky students" tinkering about in the recording studio. But this is a minor quibble, for there's simply too much fun to be had on Made In The Dark to care whether Hot Chip are 'cool', 'for real' or, indeed, whether they actually mean anything. This is pure and simple pop music that hasn't been tarnished by Messrs. Cowell or Walsh, and, for that reason, it's a (very) early contender for the best of '08 lists.