"Hipster house" may have only really reared its head as a popular music journalistic phrase in 2012, but you only need to look at Hot Chip, the first label they signed to in DFA and the band that some of them teamed up with under the New Build moniker - LCD Soundsystem - to know that the term could just as well as have been applied back in the mid-noughties. Indeed, a few years ago the Chicago house sound had never felt more rejuvenated, a smattering of bands on both sides of the Atlantic taking its spidery-sounding four-to-the-floor beats and marrying them with the disaffected tones of 21st century apathy and tunes of a more pop-based hue.
Whilst outside focus inevitably moved away and onto other sub-genres in the vast chasm of club music - ok, so mainly dubstep - Hot Chip have remained and, by maintaining a sense of not taking themselves too seriously whilst constantly churning out well-worked party albums, they've gradually grown where other peers have fallen away. Now signed to Domino, 'In Our Heads' does little to dissuade that notion; it's a record full of celebratory anthems, from huge opener 'Motion Sickness' - with brass samples that mischievously toe a late 90s big beat line - through to 'Don't Deny Your Heart's' content-in-the-80s pop schmaltz and lead-off single 'Night & Day's' Pacman level-evoking shimmy, Hot Chip's main thought behind their fifth album is apparently simply not to think, but to continue their seemingly endless night out. The slower tracks on the album, the Smooth FM grooves of 'Look Where You We Are' and 'Now There Is Nothing,' merely reinforce the notion that Taylor, Goddard and co. are much better when concerned with pointing their feet towards the direction of the dance floor and not the intimate after party, and combined the whole album listens like a group who'll continue to sound how they want to regardless of the myriad fads and trends that rise and fall around them.
As the fact that "hipster house" seems to be coming into vogue as a blogging term now attests though, those similar to Hot Chip's ilk are coming back into fashion. The 100% Silk label roster featuring the likes of Ital and RVNG's Brooklyn duo Blondes - to name but two - have been turning heads for the best part of the past year, and they're artists whose music has more drive; perhaps they don't pick and choose from quite the array of other components that Hot Chip do (a sustained love of pop music has always kept the five-piece well out of the way of simply being club music, and is again referenced here,) but there's a greater intuition at play that takes in their era and surroundings - be it conscious or sub-conscious. They're acts who, in truth, make albums like 'In Our Heads' feel slightly retro before they've even had time to settle on store shelves - although that's not to say that the wonderfully still-innocent exuberance on here doesn't make for a fine LP. They will, though, will have to adapt eventually if they are to hold the generous position of profile that they currently do; there's a new breed of party-bringers, and at this point in time they seem far more capable of progression than this amiable bunch of good-time boys.
Simon Jay Catling