Zombie Politics

I drank your milkshake.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Leaky Cauldron # 1

The Leaky Cauldron
Hot Chip – The Warning

This is a new feature on Zombie Politics, which is to say, the first feature (since my “Album of the Week” column died due to lack of interest and my own crippling laziness). The idea is that I review a leaked album (that is – an album pre-released, illegally, to the Internet), once a week or whenever I feel like it. It’ll be cool because there will be no outside press/review influence over me, because, well, no one is supposed to have heard it yet. Everyone knows how intimidated and persuaded I am by Pitchfork. Except, you know, not.

I was going to start this feature off with White Rose Movement’s “Kick,” but that’s coming out fairly soon (the end of the month, in the UK) so I figured I’d just wait and do a bigger column about the album and their performance at the Mercury Lounge, which I’ll be going to…


Hot Chip’s “The Warning.” The first album officially released on the band’s new label, DFA/Astralwerks (that is, if it was officially released). There’s no concrete release date, although Astralwerks cites it as the end of May (the DFA My Space page as a look at the cover art). And, even though I obtained it months and months early, it couldn’t have leaked soon enough and god knows I can’t fucking stop listening to it.

It’s that good.

A masterpiece.

One of the year’s finest (and you’ll hear me saying that again at the end of the year).

In fact, it’s such a colossal achievement; both as a monumental leap forward from their amateurish (but enjoyable) debut and as one of the weirdest and most fun albums I have heard since M.I.A.’s “Arular.” And, like “Arular,” I cannot imagine anything coming close to usurping it as the finest, most groundbreaking album of this year. (“Arular” was released about the same time last year – see my Year End list below.)

Like Sparks, Hot Chip has a knack for writing really good songs about really stupid shit. But what they’ve done on this album (and what Sparks did around “Number One in Heaven”) is write lyrics that are so clever that they almost eclipse the fact that they are, in actuality, about really stupid shit. The best example of this is “Arrest Yourself,” a play on Madonna’s “Express Yourself” for sure (these guys are, if anything, pop music savants), but also an intricate, immaculately worded wonder. The lyrics seesaw and careen into themselves, accompanied by oddball bloops and bleeps in the background that somehow gel into a compulsively dance-able single entity. It’s a revelatory moment, and re-listening to the album shows you just how many of these ‘ah-ha!’ moments there are. The cleverness is astounding, almost like this is the album they thought they were making the first time around (but weren’t). Add in splices of melancholy emotion and a song (“So Glad to See You”) that wouldn’t have been out of place on Daft Punk’s “Discovery” record (and also the only song on my version to have a weird, glitchy thing going on - FUCK) and you’ve just got a gem of an album.

And at least one more DFA remix down the pipe (for “Colours”). Nice.

- Drew.


The Knife "Silent Shout"

Fiery Furnaces "Bitter Tea"

Flaming Lips "At War with the Mystics"

Spankrock "Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo"

Analord (Aphex Twin) "Chosen Lords"

The Concretes "In Colour"