Synths, Strobes and — Susan Boyle?

Hot Chip

One Life Stand

EMI Records

Hot Chip is a nerdy British electro-pop band with a penchant for synthesizers and irony. Susan Boyle is a middle-aged Scottish woman with an astonishing voice. Apart from average appearances, these two don’t have much of a connection, except that Boyle — that frumpy nobody from Blackburn — is Hot Chip’s muse. Well, kind of.

On their new album One Life Stand, frontman Joe Goddard said he wrote highlight “Keep Quiet” directly after watching Boyle’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” on “Britain’s Got Talent.”

That’s not to say that the album includes music from “Les Miserables;” Boyle’s influence isn’t that obvious. But she has helped Hot Chip soften up a bit.

“Keep Quiet” is quite the departure from the band’s most recognizable song, “Ready for the Floor.”Gone are the days of tongue-in-cheek, club-ready dance grooves. Make way for soft melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Hot Chip strikes a delicate balance here: Even in its most rhythmical moments, its lyrics are actually rather romantic. Susan Boyle’s existence has pushed Hot Chip out of its Devo-like tendencies into a New Order revolution somehow.

The rest of the album follows suit. The excellent titular track tries out a bit of disco while spouting lyrics usually reserved for singer-songwriters with acoustic guitars. Singer Alexis Taylor croons, “I only want to be your one life stand/ Tell me do you stand by your man.”

However, Hot Chip’s newfound seriousness is not always welcome. The quietest song on the album, “Slush,” is just plain boring. It’s cool that Hot Chip is expanding its sound, but it shouldn’t chuck its trademark completely.

Nonetheless, the album just might be its best yet — though it would have benefitted from a more obvious throwback to the days of yore. “Hot Chip Does the Classics” would have been pretty damn entertaining.

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