Published May 15, 2015Hot Chip's sixth studio album, Why Make Sense?, marks a departure from a number of characteristics that have defined the band over time. To begin, WMS? is the first album that the five piece live band has recorded together. That live dynamic adds warmth, looseness and what one might call a playful energy to the songs. In an interview with The Guardian, band member Joel Goddard explained that "computers can squeeze the humanity out of the music." So it might be fair to say that WMS? is an album made by a band that sought to get back in touch with its humanity.
As such, it should come as no surprise that the compositions feature less programming, fewer layers, and arrangements that often emphasize vocals and live instrumentation at the forefront of the mix. The '70s R&B influence is undeniable on this album, and is consistently notable in vocalist Alexis Taylor's soulful falsetto vocals, which sound rawer and less refined than ever on "So Much Further To Go" and "White Wine And Fried Chicken," among others. When Hot Chip aren't focused on their soulful side, they are often exploring their funkier side, as on "Started Right," which offers a nod to Stevie Wonder's "Superstition."
Why Make Sense? is a consistently engaging album by a band that has successfully reinvigorated their sound. Goddard and the rest of Hot Chip evidently set out on a mission to establish a balance in their music, one that would allow them to make use of technology without surrendering their humanity to it. And on Why Make Sense?, they've accomplished just that. (Domino)