3/5 The phrase ‘landfill indie’ emerged in the mid-2000s to describe the hordes of dull, generic guitar bands that emerged after The Strokes. It’s since mutated into ‘dumpster disco’. London’s Hot Chip have long been ahead of the game, crafting fresh and unusual disco-pop while clowns everywhere squeezed into skinny black jeans. With their fifth album, though, it feels as though the competition has them over-reaching just a tad. Trying to write songs with glossy pop choruses that can make a dancefloor buckle, while also maintaining an air of English eccentricity, makes for truly jarring key changes (on ‘Don’t Deny Your Heart’), or pointless time signature switches (‘Now There Is Nothing’).
Thankfully, when they focus on one aim at a time, there’s real magic at work. The Nicolas Jaar-esque ‘Look at Where We Are’ glows with slo-mo warmth, while ‘Ends of the Earth’ is a muscular floor-filler that’s up there with their best. The Baltimora-style yelps of ‘Let Me Be Him’ should also create an affecting, lighters-in-the-air set-closer at their many festival slots this summer. Oliver Keens