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Hot Chip - Freakout/Release (Album Review)

Thursday, 25 August 2022 Written by Matty Pywell

Photo: Pooneh Ghana

The last time we heard from Hot Chip they’d donned tie dye and embarked upon psychedelic experimentation with ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’. An album filled with cathartic joy and dreamlike melodies, it was testament to the dance group’s ability to easily find new ground.

The first track from their new album ‘Freakout/Release’, Down, suggests another foray into something fresh. They revel in its funk grooves and reject notions of the daily grind in favour of pure dancefloor joy. Yet, along with Eleanor, it soon becomes an outlier.

The jump into funk isn’t fully embraced, and from those joyful beginnings we cascade into darker territory. Often, you’ll hear references to feeling worn down, to anxiety, and trying to find ways to heal and reach out to others.

‘Freakout/Release’ ponders what happens after the disco, when you don’t have the distraction and the community around you.

But even in these bleak moments, synths still shimmer, disco balls are still imprinted on our minds, and most of the songs feel as though they are on the periphery of being euphoric, of returning to the last album’s sense of ecstasy. 

There are moments such as Hard To Be Funky, too, that are too on the nose and a essentially a corny metaphor to use when discussing mental health. The verses seem to only exist as an excuse to rhyme words for the sake of it: “Ain’t it hard to be flexi, when you feel kind of clunky, and your heart’s made of plexi.” 

The Evil Men Do has no idea what point it’s trying to make until Cadence Weapon’s verse and, lyrically, it is far too vague to do justice to the themes it is trying to project. Hot Chip’s step into introspection wields small successes but quickly becomes confused after an exciting funk-laden start.

Hot Chip Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed September 21 2022 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Thu September 22 2022 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Fri September 23 2022 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Sat September 24 2022 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton

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