There comes a time when bands that push the fringes of their chosen genre can’t even contain the creative outputs of their core members.This has become the case with English electronic trailblazers, Hot Chip. Nerdy frontman, Alexis Taylor, has again broken ranks for his second solo LP, Await Barbarians.
Those expecting to hear any dancefloor thumpers have stumbled into the wrong solo project as Taylor is the more wistful and intricate personality. Taylor turns to issues such as mortality and ageing throughout and even draws on iconic figures Dolly And Porter when cooing about the head and the heart.
There are some moments on Awaits Barbarians that are so stripped back that they almost sound unfinished, yet don’t detract too much from the general calmness on display. Taylor even takes the step of putting two versions of one of the album’s stand-outs, Without A Crutch, on the album. It is almost as if the first version is such a lovely slice of pop immediacy that he feels the need to strip it to its bare minimum later in the piece to compensate.
Taylor may be far from carefree on Await Barbarians, but it is not the kind of melancholia that will get you running the hot water taps, just the type that will direct you to the next bottle.