Album Review: Hot Chip - 'A Bath Full of Ecstasy'

This Friday (21st June) sees the return of Hot Chip with their seventh studio album ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy,’ their first since 2015. The London-based indie-tronica quintet famed for earlier songs such as ‘Over and Over’ and ‘Ready for the Floor,’ deliver an album celebrating joy and happiness while pursuing the melancholic approach of pain and toil which it takes to get there.

A Bath Full of Ecstasy is also notable as it is the first time that Hot Chip have not self-produced, instead leaving those duties to Rodaihd McDonald, who has worked with The XX and Sampha amongst others, as well as Philippe Zdar, who has The Beastie Boys and Phoenix in his back catalogue of production work. While the title ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’ would suggest an ode to the rave scene, this would be a misdirected presumption.

Album opener ‘Melody of Love’ is a slower song and by far the most powerful song on the album. Starting off with a melancholic feel, the song builds up into a crescendo of synth-inspired noise, a fantastic album opener for sure and introduces that melancholy to happiness theme which occurs throughout the album.

‘Spell’ on the other has a more old-school Hot Chip feel to it while the title track ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’ includes little electronica, opting for a more lyrically descriptive, uplifting Indie vibe. This then jumps to ‘Echo,’ a strong song which reverts to the electronic instrumental approach and offers a head-nodding chorus.

The highlight of the album is the single ‘Hungry Child’ which has already had repeated airings on my Spotify account and has appeared on the BBC 6 Music playlist (although the 3 minute radio edit is not long enough). This song is an out ‘n’ out bop and could quite possibly be the anthem of summer 2019, provided that the damp weather clears for sunshine. While this album is impressive there is maybe the odd blip – the song ‘Why Does My Mind’ appears to come across as quite dull on a first listen however after two or three plays, it becomes much more appreciable. The album is rounded off by two further five minute-plus songs: ‘Clear Blue Skies’ and ‘No God,’ both very electronically influenced with No God musically having a Screamadelica era ‘Primal Scream meets Kid A era Radiohead’ vibe, although it is still clearly a Hot Chip song.

By the time that June 21st rolls around, the weather will hopefully be more summer-like and as alluded to, this is where this album will come into its own. Perfect for those summer evenings, three or four beverages down whether you need to reflect or to boogie, ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’ can satisfy many music tastes.

Hot Chip are also doing an extensive amount of festival dates which includes a headline slot on the Park Stage on the Saturday of Glastonbury. You can also catch Hot Chip at Blue Dot (Cheshire) and Playground of Sound (Glasgow) festivals throughout July and August before a 7-date UK tour in October.

Alex Barston

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