Hot Club De Paris have been relatively quiet in a lot of ways, despite having released two albums since forming in 2003 and being signed to taste-makers Moshi Moshi. With new, overly long titled six track EP With Days Like This As Cheap As Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want To Work?, they prove irrefutably that their stylish brand of math-indie is still relevant.
Indeed, Hot Club definitely know how to demand attention. They have a remarkably full sound for being only a three-piece, and have developed a musically distinct voice despite, on first listen, it sounding dangerously close to generic too-cool-for-school indie pop. This is due in part to the quality of the combined vocals and lyrics of Alasdair and Matthew Smith and Paul Rafferty; melodic, playful, often shouted, sometimes spoken as on the excellent ‘Fuck You, The Truth’.
Another distinguishing factor is their guitar sound. For the most part it’s lightly over-driven, math-rock crossed with Marr inspired riffs backed by satisfyingly funky bass, but every now and then something quite unusual happens. In the case of EP opener ‘Dance A Ragged Dance’ it’s an instrumental section the mood of which borders on Gaelic followed by a section that features an almost droning, single note, offset by curious harmonies. In short, it’s evident that Matthew Smith is actually a talented guitarist with an imagination vibrant enough to turn ostensibly simple (yet effective) musical ideas into compelling songs, and the same can easily be said for the band as a whole. By way of explanation, ‘Dog Tired At The Spring Dance Marathon’ is almost whimsical, but the constantly curious interplay between the rhythm section shapes the song instead into a feel-good pop pleasure with some serious grooves.
Of the EP it’s only really the fifth track that falls a little flat, and even then not painfully so, more a little bland in comparison to the others. This EP is an enticing release that will seriously whet the appetite of both old fans and newcomers with a math-indie-rock bent for their next full length.