For quite a while, this was going to be at the top of this list. If you’d told me that this time last year, I’d have laughed in your, I’m imagining now, staggeringly beautiful face. The ones with the odd decent single from time to time? Slightly pretentious dance music that noodles a bit and can get rather samey over a whole album? Them? Well, actually not them, for the Hot Chip that arrived in 2012 are like pop alchemists, students of the fine art of song delivering their thesis on how to get people’s heads-a-nodding in an eleven song format. ‘In Our Heads‘ is the most joyous release of 2012 and a record which makes me dance around the house without a care for who can see me. Although, obviously, almost nobody can as it’s my house. And I normally only really let the moves out when the good lady’s not in. But if it can get even an uptight muso like me dancing then this is quite the concoction.
As the pounding beat of ‘How Do You Do?’ kicks in, presaging the unflinchingly cheesy chorus to follow, I am beaming. Every time. And that is what makes ‘In Our Heads’ one of my absolute favourite albums of the year. After a few listens, you find yourself welcoming each track with excitement, rekindling that feeling of youth when your favourite song from that week’s chart came on the radio. Only eleven times over. ‘Don’t Deny Your Heart’ serves to emphasise the other notable difference about this particular incarnation of Hot Chip: the vocals are gorgeous. Alexis Taylor always had an enjoyable reedy falsetto but here it truly shines.
‘Let Me Be Him’ and ‘Always Been Your Love’ close the album in triumphant fashion, the former going from quiet to loud in the way songs used to do. Gentle synth, tricksy percussion and lullabyesque vocals combine in the early stages, seducing you ahead of the ‘uh-uh-oh-uh-ehhhhh-ehhhh’ backing vocal which was never going to be done justice when written down. Don’t let that put you off. Seriously, click the artwork above, listen to it in Spotify and then come back. I’ll still be here.
See? And then there’s the album’s closer, which ensures a delicately euphoric feeling to end proceedings. Eighties keyboard and shimmering synth noises are the order of the day, with accompanying handclaps and just the right amount of repetition. Just like the very best compilations, ‘In Our Heads’ ebbs and flows perfectly, with the more frantic ‘Night & Day‘ and ‘Flutes’ positioned smack in the middle of things and the comedown music neatly rounding things off. I’m as surprised as you are to find this so high up my list but it is, quite simply, a wonderfully constructed album with an embarrassment of melody. Treat yourself.