Hot Chip have been around for nearly 20 years now and they still manage to surprise us. Their music always sounds like a collaboration between the 1980s and the 2080s, merging the classic and the futuristic to form something unique and innovative.
A Bath Full of Ecstasy is no exception. The album opener “Melody of Love” has the bare skeleton of an ’80s love song. The soppy lyrics are enough to make you want to hate it and yet the more you listen to it, the more you come to appreciate how fantastic the track is. “Spell” then takes a slide into the slightly avant-garde and plays with the spacey and distorted vocoder sounds that have been trending this year.
The titular track toys with autotune like an old-school Kanye West track and then slips into something a little more Depeche Mode inspired. The charmingly dorky Alexis Taylor sings: “I’ve got the cure, the pure remedy /
I know I can make you see the colours that I see / Come and take a bath in our ecstasy / I will wash away all of your fears you will see.” It’s all very innocent and playful, creating a safe and happy bubble to lose yourself in.
Another album highlight is “Clear Blue Skies” which offers just short of seven minutes of dreamlike sequences. “What does it matter?” Taylor teases. “A dream of dust or a dream of life / In a universe of almost infinite size.” The track has a way of pulling us up into space and making us feel that bittersweet happy-sad nostalgia as the soft psychedelia washes over us. This is Hot Chip at their most tender and romantic.
“No God” is the gorgeous album closer which places the Romantic above all else. It’s sweet and strange and it’s the perfect ending to another fantastic record from Hot Chip.
2019 has been a strange mix of self-love declarations and futuristic political albums. What Hot Chip have to offer is something far more humble and optimistic. A Bath Full of Ecstasy is a surreal safe space where you can lose yourself in the oddly soothing sounds of synth-pop.