"The good news, Miss Strahovski, is that you've won a brand new Porsche 911. The bad news is that there's a dead body in the foot-well, cheese lathered on the upholstery and we've replaced the accelerator with a stick of rhubarb."
You won't be examining this gift-wrapped horse's mandibles any-time soon, but there is still going to be an air of disappointment that the present you've received doesn't fulfil its potential glory.
Entirely applicable to One Life Stand are these sentiments. With almost breathtaking precision, Hot Chip have made an album which is half genius and then half deserving of an ejector seat. For most bands, that's a hit-to-miss-ratio to drool over; For Hot Chip - a band of whom we expect so much more - such a ratio is a bitter disappointment.
Most of the weaker tracks are found handily in the same section of the album, which we affectionately name 'The Craptacular Balladeering Second Act'. "Keep Quiet", "Slush" and "Alley Cats" all put the IDM (taken in the literal sense) on ice in favour of the kind of dross you'd expect on the début album of whichever skank a major label have given an acoustic guitar to and ordered to capture the female demographic. If you can tolerate the repeated refrains of "Now that we're older / There's more that we must do / With songs that we remember / Remember, my love is with you" on "Slush", then you're a better man/woman/hell-hound than us.
All the more frustrating then, that there are so many moments of undisputed brilliance on One Life Stand. Channelling Queen's "I Want to Break Free" through a high-speed, electro filter, "Thieves in the Night" touches on every area which makes Hot Chip the leaders of the pack. It abounds in pace, precision, concept and the sheer weight of ideas seemingly bursting at the seams of the track. The very same could be said for the likes of "Take It In", "I Feel Better" and the album's title track.
For a band on their fourth album, it's admittedly refreshing that they're still willing to take such risks with their output in pursuit of new paths. Statistically speaking though, they cannot pay off all of the time, and this is very much one of those times!