Jeans, still wet with yellow paint, are tacked onto a gray canvas, which is tacked onto a wall on the sprawling top floor of EMI’s downtown Manhattan headquarters. Hot Chip’s Al Doyle, already quite lanky, sits on the edge of a chair struggling to cross 12-foot prosthetic legs, while bandmates Joe Goddard and Owen Clarke cradle his cardboard ankles to keep his shoes from slipping off. “We found, like, a big cardboard pole,” says lead singer Alexis Taylor, not quite sure how to explain the inspiration for the temporary installation he and his band have just created. The four electro-pop musicians (the fifth, Felix Martin, is back in their native London) begin to laugh at the silliness of it all. But, as is also the case with their musical approach, they’re game for just about anything.
Since the release of their debut album, 2005’s Coming on Strong, the boys of Hot Chip have consistently churned out big-hearted electro ballads with a distinctive, keyboard-driven beat. Their fourth studio album, One Life Stand, reaches for something more holistic: “We’ve always found it difficult to produce a record that sounds like it was made in one stretch,” Taylor says, while encasing his art project in a green border made from denim. “With this one, we somehow managed to get beyond that.”
One Life Stand is out now on Astralwerks.
Photography by Reynard Li. Grooming by Stephanie Flor for Artists by Timothy Priano.