On the second album from the young UK band Hot Chip, it sounds like they're still working some kinks out in a few places. In large part, the group locks into a batch of electronic pop tracks that delightfully throwback to the 80s with a nod forward, but there are a couple places on The Warning where it sounds like they're simply trying a bit too hard to mix things up, and the drastic changes break the flow of the otherwise smooth disc.
Opening track "Careful" teeters delightfully on the edge between the two halves of their sound, balancing some nice vocal harmonies and a pretty group chorus on top of choppy breakbeat programming and somewhat dissonant synth stabs that threaten to derail the whole thing. Fortunately, they never do, and on the following track the group kicks out one of the best singles of the year. "And I Was A Boy From School" floats some breathy vocals over dizzying, relentless synth arpeggios and beat programming that just keeps pushing forward until the sparkling finale.
The Warning is by no means a one-song wonder, either, as the group drops the hyper-dancy, handclap-laced "Over And Over" about a third of the way into the disc and both musically and lyrically seem to embrace the fun of mindless euro-pop. Another gem is the album-titled "The Warning," which juxtaposes some pretty chime melodies and lush but subtle programming with somewhat aggressive lyrics that you can't help but want to sing along with.
As mentioned before, it seems like in a few places the group seems to just toss in random tracks that don't really work. "Tchaparian" is all buzzy synths and choppy beats that feel completely out of place, while "Arrest Yourself" features over-the-top filtered vocals, horn synths, and clanky beats that stick out on the otherwise slick album. With twelve songs running fifty-three minutes and a few things that feel out of place, this follow-up from Hot Chip probably could have used a smidgen of trimming. Regardless, though, it's still a highly entertaining album, and perfect for blasting during hot summer days.