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Hot Chip show who’s Boss on new EP

"Dancing In The Dark EP"

Release date: 06 November 2015
Hot Chip Dancing In The Dark EP
12 November 2015, 11:30 Written by Alex Lee Thomson
In a year when the cover version seems to be losing some of its shame among indie and outsider listeners, Hot Chip are riding the trend with a behemoth in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” for their titular new EP.

Rather than recording the original material in a house-style, Hot Chip have imagined “Dancing In The Dark” in the way they might have recorded it back in 1984. It’s not Hot Chip circa 2015 covering Springsteen, it’s their idea of what they might have done 30 years ago with the track.

It takes some bottle to attempt a song by The Boss - he’s one of those people, like Prince or The Beatles, who kind of got it perfect themselves. The original has so much style, and now nostalgia, that his flawless version is hard to hear in any other way. That in mind, the only way Hot Chip could have made an impact on this was to take it back to the era and form a tangent universe from it. One in which Bruce never touched it.

The video would support this, with a glitchy VHS mingling of vintage cable TV-style vignettes, flickering into live footage of the band. Everything about this would suggest time travel.

They’ve created a wonderful mashup from taking that approach, and a genuinely fun listen that sounds suitably Hot Chip, with some borrowed texture from LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” in the latter part of the six and a half minute ride.

The band clearly knew when recording this they’d found a new gem for their live show. It’s immediately accessible, and will no doubt bolster an already vibrant set. Matching it with remixes of tracks from their last album Why Make Sense?, the EP is an easy sell for people still finding the band.

It showcases Alexis Taylor’s restrained underplay of vocals, which has always riffed quite otherworldly with the commotion of noise around it. Even on one of pop’s biggest anthems, his vocal is allowed to relax. It’s that surreal landscape the band do well - it’s dance music to sit down and listen to.

It is a little disappointing there are two different cuts of “Huarache Light”s included, as I’d like to have heard a new slant on another album track, but Soulwax and A/JUS/TED have taken slightly different approaches, so it’s not entirely unjust. They are however not all that dissimilar.

“Dancing In The Dark” deserves to make its way onto playlists, especially as end of year party season approaches, but the EP still feels as though it needs a vinyl release to really be worth the effort.

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