For a group that has been perpetually described as nerdy, British electro-pop act Hot Chip's Joe Goddard tells Billboard.com that the group's new album "One Life Stand" (Due Feb 9 on Astralwerks) marks a new direction for the band in terms of becoming more serious about its lyrical content. "I think in the past, we were nervous about being open or emotionally honest. We sometimes would have a jokiness or guarded sense to some of the words. This record is much more open, lyrically."
Indeed, that inspiration has come from someone who knows a little something about being taken seriously: Susan Boyle. For the track "Keep Quiet," which Goddard says was written immediately after seeing Boyle's infamous performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" on "Britain's Got Talent." "I'd never seen it before and I found it quite incredible," Goddard recalls. "Just listening to that made me want to write a song. I sent the track to Alexis [Taylor] and he quickly wrote the words and sent it back."
Still, Goddard says that the new work came together pretty easy -- while they're veterans of the road, 2009 provided a lengthy time away from touring duties, to which they could spend time writing and trying out new things, such as utilizing acoustic instruments. "We tried to have a simplicity to this record. The most difficult song was "Hand Me Down Your Love." It was just a matter of months and months of adding synthesizers, adding drum parts. There were sections where we thought were unnecessary, so we removed it. It got to something like 160 tracks or pieces of music. I think because we had more time to make this record, we tried things out differently. The time was a little bit unhelpful. In the end, we didn't use a lot of parts we recorded. "
In recent years, Hot Chip have shown modest growth in commercial sales. The group's best seller is 2006's "The Warning," which has sold 49,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan, followed by 2008's "Made in the Dark" at 47,000.
But more so, Hot Chip have made a name for themselves as a live act in the U.S. and have teamed up with breakout British post-punk act The xx for a quick, six date tour of large clubs kicking off on April 16 in Oakland, California. From there, they'll play Chicago (Apr. 19), Toronto (Apr. 20), New York (Apr. 22-23) and Washington D.C. (Apr. 24). More dates are expected to be released in the next several weeks, including a slot at the Coachella festival in Southern California.
For the live show, Goddard says a handful of undisclosed guest musicians will be in tow, along with a string section. "We're going to begin rehearsing [this month]," he says. "Because I can't really remember how to play any of the new songs at this point."
Here is the "One Life Stand" track list:
"Thieves in the Night"
"Hand Me Down Your Love"
"I Feel Better"
"One Life Stand"
"We Have Love"
"Take It In"