Astralwerks has always struck me as the label that gives Americans the chance to listen to English artists that are popular but not going to sell out massive stadiums. Or for that matter sell out to the masses. It also provides a way to sample what might be going on in hipster circles without having to trawl through a million and one acts to try and find the ones you like. For example, DFA records has some sort of deal with Astralwerks which means you can be looking at the website for artists as accessible as Beth Orton or Badly Drawn Boy and end up listening to some disco for pogo punks in pumps (RIP- Jockey Slut).
But back to the point in charge here. Hot Chip (currently on tour in the USA) have their debut album out and the review package I got has a bonus single (Over and Over- remixed by the DFA). So putting the CD in my trusty laptop the first thing I thought on listening was - "Woah, the irony meter is going off the scale here." 80s beats, keyboards up front, and song titles like "crap kraft dinner," "shining escalade," and "down with prince."
However, that's not to say that this is all a joke, this album will have you dancing and laughing and thinking. It's perfectly hip and listenable, with influences running all over the place, rubbish jokes and deadpan delivery (English accents singing about "shining escalades on 20" rims" and "being like Stevie Wonder, except I can see"). However the downside to that is you can almost picture the scene:
"Ooh, hot chip."
"Ah yes, that Over and Over was remixed by DFA, you know"
"Oh, that must be good, let's get it."
Then fast forward to next year and it'll be "wow, Hot Chip, whatever happened to them?" See also Har Mar Superstar and Junior Boys.
However, if they blow up among the hipster massive,I want everyone to know that I saw them first and preferred their earlier stuff....
Perfectly produced disposable pop music, and that's not a bad thing.