Hot Chip has always been a little quirky. The London synth-pop group is known for a noisy repertoire and an understated lyrical humor; its hooky dance-floor numbers are speckled with angular beats and clever genre skewing, informed by lines like “I’m sick of motherfuckers trying to tell me that they’re down with Prince” (from “Down With Prince” off 2005’s Coming On Strong). But over the years, and certainly with its last record, 2010’s One Life Stand, Hot Chip has toned down its sarcasm in favor of a more empathetic outlook. In Our Heads is a humanistic and celebratory album. Brimming with dense beats polished to a sheen that dulls the group’s sharpest edges, it’s Hot Chip’s pop-friendliest effort so far.
The first half of the album is led by exultant anthems and effusive positivity. From the brassy horns of opening track “Motion Sickness” to the gushy sentiment of “Look At Where We Are,” the guys in Hot Chip seem to be having the time the time of their lives. “Don’t Deny Your Heart” and “These Chains” are unapologetic riffs on ’80s and ’90s dance beats, while slower-moving electro ballads like “Flutes” and “Always Been Your Love” make a play for stadium-hushing interludes. Lead single “Night And Day” sounds the most like vintage Hot Chip—a fantastic pick-up beat and an impulsive sung-spoke verse that challenges, “Let’s sweat / Let’s sweat”—but otherwise the record is a full-force push for newer and brighter horizons. Though the group has always let a bit of earnestness slip into its music, In Our Heads is a full culmination of what’s truest to the group’s warm electronic heart.