One Life Stand 3/5 Let’s start with a statement that will determine whether or not you bother reading on: there’s no barnstorming lop-your-own-head-off-to-get-the-song-out single of the calibre of ‘Over & Over’ or ‘Ready for the Floor’ on One Life Stand.
Still here? Okay, let’s continue. One Life Stand is essentially an album about love, but it examines sides that are generally ignored in the context of pop music. The romance that fuels many of these songs, especially the title track, is that of a life enriched by being shared rather than – for example – hot, hot lovin’. Long-term happiness is a tricky subject to address without things getting too saccharine, though the Chip remain on the side of the angels with impressive deftness (that’s especially true of ‘Brothers’, the paean to friendship that misses complete mawkishness by the narrowest of margins). That’s not to suggest that the band’s humour and danceability has evaporated: the opening ‘Thieves in the Night’ cribs its bridge from ‘Fade to Grey’, ‘I Feel Better’ mixes a shuffling Latin beat with robotic Auto Tune, and ‘We Have Love’ is sharp, minimalist disco.
The mix of wryly sentimental lyrics and chilly electronic pop could draw parallels with late-period Pet Shop Boys, but songs such as the slow-burning ‘Keep Quiet’ defy easy categorisation. However, One Life Stand is a little too one-speed. After all, even the most content, well-established relationship suffers without the odd moment of passion. Andrew P Street Available now in stores.