The back half of Hot Chip‘s recent fifth album, In Our Heads, bears an acknowledged debt to a very particular sound of the 1980s. Says the band’s Joe Goddard,
“I’m obsessed with maxi-12″ extended mixes from the 80s. Records from that time have such a beautiful big sound—they often are quite epic. There’s a lot of different sounds, and they’re seven or eight minutes long. I really like those records.”
You can hear that influence writ small on “Ends Of The Earth”, an uplifting, pacey track, which burbles out of a glowing arpeggiated river. Trickling along beneath the analog goodness is Al Doyle’s ever-present electric guitar, which sounds like it’s teleported in from a Chic record. There’s a glossy sheen to the song’s arrangement that’s very much from the era Goddard recalls with fondness.
But it’s actually the lyrics that really get me on “Ends Of The Earth”, and, in particular, the opening couplet:
“You promised me the ends of the earth—
But I don’t want that.
I just want you to feel the belief of a man.”
Singing atop a pristine synthesised choir, the preternaturally sighing Alexis Taylor rejects the over-reaching advances of a prospective lover. He just wants to be there for her—not to be the recipient of untold riches or crushing gestures. Immediately afterwards, there’s another witty and ambiguous put-down to Taylor’s prospective belle: “They say that love is drunk…But drunk don’t get you far”. I say ambiguous because it’s unclear whether he’s looking for something more meaningful than drunken, empty promises, or because the girl who he’s pursuing is nobler than a dancefloor hook-up. Or maybe it’s just something else drawn from his arsenal of throwaway ripostes.
As the song extends into an infinity of chugging euphoria, Taylor is distinctly more circumspect and cryptic. “I try to keep myself topped up with all that’s good and bad—don’t want to fall behind the pack”, he admits, perhaps suggesting he’s undeserving of the girl’s titular pledge. He’s not perfect, but he reckons he’ll do good enough as a crutch for her.
“Ends Of The Earth” is taken from In Our Heads by Hot Chip, released on 11th June, on Domino Records.