Hot Chip's debut album, Coming On Strong, was a goofy delight filled with memorably silly lyrics ("I'm like Stevie Wonder but I see things"), interesting takes on hip-hop sensibilities, the contrasting high/low vocals of Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, and a heaping helping of electro funk. It almost sounded like a joke at first but got better on repeated listens. However, Hot Chip's new album, The Warning, is one that hits you hard from the first listen. With less silliness, fewer hip-hop references, and a little more pathos, Hot Chip has crafted an album that's better than their debut.
Released in America only seven months after Coming On Strong, The Warning offers quite a contrast from Hot Chip's previous album from the opening song. "Careful" is a very strong start to the album. With its pounding, off-kilter beat, repeated vocal samples, and occasional moments of serenity, it doesn't sound like anything else they've done.
The club-ready "And I Was A Boy From School" is a take on the classic concept of young love that is lost. Most of the song is sung in direct unison by Alexis and Joe. It gives the song a haunting, almost otherworldly, quality that makes it stand out. You feel genuine emotion when they sing "We tried/But we didn't have long/We tried/But we didn't belong."
In the same vein of "A Boy From School" comes the R&B-esque ballad "Look After Me." Soft guitars and violins highlight this song, which almost passes for "blue-eyed soul." "Colours" is a song that proves that simple can be beautiful. The first parts of the song are driven mostly by organ-like synths. Even when the song develops into a faster-paced beat, it doesn't get much more complex. Even the lyrics are kept pretty simple. There are probably, at most, 10 lines of lyrics in the entire 5-minute-plus song.