Friday, December 09, 2005

Funky Friday's Coming On Strong

British duo Hot Chip's debut LP Coming On Strong was released in May of 2004 in the UK. The NME desribed the album as "genre-hopping future-funk held together with elastic bands" & "as witty and inventive as the finest pop songs." Last week saw Astralwerks give it a proper US release, and they've added three bonus tunes to it. It's a fun and funky album. My first reaction to it was that it reminded me of the Beta Band - lo-fi, indie slacker stuff. But Hot Chip take that foundation and add a hefty dose of black American funk. Where Beta Band did the kind of British Beck-meets-Floyd-thing, this is music enamored of Prince and G-funk and Sly & the Family Stone, all mixed up with the oddball quirk of Ween, a dash of classic '70s 10cc and then slathered in that lovely, warm and litling spaciness of the same era's reggae. Alexis Taylor's voice is wistfully indie in that distinctly British way, and it's a real blast hearing "gangsta" lyrics crooned in such a way - he sings about blasting Yo La Tengo with the top down. I am really loving it a lot. It's both groovy and humorous, and always leaves me with a smile. Enjoy one of their first singles, Down With Prince, which is a song so full of Prince-ly sounds that it's pretty much a tribute. Keep Fallin' bumps on an old school beat that mixes hip hop with mellow reggae vibes and some crazy ass lyrics about Stevie Wonder seeing stuff. The tune is super catchy - hear it twice and you're humming along. The breakdown is blissfully cool, and the tune fades out on a wickedly funky chorus of kazoos. Yeah, kazoos bringing the funk. Highly recommended.

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