Hot Chip has the requisite characteristics of a rock band — fuzzy guitars, ennui-laden indie vocals — but such swinging up-tempo grooves as “Over and Over” or the bubbly “Boy from School” show these guys listen to plenty of electronic music as well. And let’s not forget the group’s remixes of artist like Amy Winehouse, the Junior Boys, and minimal house outfit Booka Shade. So it’s not surprising that the quintet would be recruited by !K7’s to contribute to its increasingly adventurous DJ Kicks series.
As with many of the deejay scene’s genre-hopping selectors, there is much potential for inconsistency and uneven flow. The group missteps at the mix’s beginning when Positive K’s early-’90s hip-hop classic “I Got a Man” comes out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly as a radio dial flipping back and forth. But Hot Chip redeems itself pretty quickly. The next track, Gramme’s percussion-heavy vocal-led “Like You,” gives way effortlessly to the emotive electronic synths of Subway’s “Persuasion” and Soundhack’s “B1,” and it marks the first of some brilliant transitions that show up here.
As with all recent DJ Kicks mixes, the Hot Chip boys sneak in a brand new original track: “My Piano” is a sublime tune that sounds a bit like a more melancholy “Over and Over.” It’s broken up awkwardly by New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” but Young Leek’s playfully blinged-out “Jiggle It” flows perfectly with Etta James and her knee-slapping journey “Into the Basement” with Sugar Pie DeSanto. The rest of the mix works pretty well, including such sounds as Wookie’s dubstep-flavored breaks and Audion’s peak-time techno. “Steppin’ Out,” an uplifting ’80s anthem from Joe Jackson, precedes a Ray Charles tune to fill out the disc.
Those precious moments of musical mash-up show that these guys have the knack for it — and, because two of the quintet’s members are in fact working deejays, I would certainly hope so. Like recent DJ Kicks entries (particularly Four Tet’s), the focus here is more on an eclectic selection than technical wizardry. But Hot Chip manages to inject a bit of both into this fun little mix.