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Hot Chip – 'Why Make Sense?' review

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Most bands don’t make it to their sixth album without at least some sort of personnel change, stylistic crisis of confidence or a barrel-scraping best-of collection to bolster their Discogs page, so for Hot Chip to do exactly that, so unassumingly and with such grace, is perhaps a greater achievement than Why Make Sense itself could ever be. However, the consequence of such a steady output is that while their sixth record is an engaging, peppy and accomplished piece, there’s little to distinguish it from their recent previous work: accordingly, we’re served a combination of delightfully loose, rubbery bangers (Huarache Nights), whimsically sentimental balladeering (White Wine & Fried Chicken) and lightly sautéed dance-pop catchiness (Started Right), all delivered with doe-eyed sincerity, warmly idiosyncratic whimsy and straight-up pop joy, to consistently satisfying (if slightly familiar) effect.

But that’s not to say Hot Chip have entirely started treading water: there are some neatly understated experiments here in the form of guest raps, Stevie Wonder clavinet licks and the quasi-protest song Need You Now that flow unobtrusively around the rest of the record. Equally, though, there’s still little escape from the seasoned Hot Chippiness of it all, which, of course, is no bad thing – it’s just that the problem with being routinely excellent is that, eventually, it becomes the norm.