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Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and Greco-Roman affiliate Raf Daddy have already amassed a diverse array of high-profile admirers ranging from Andrew Weatherall to, er… Elton John. Consisting of 12 boisterous jams themed around city living, the duo’s debut long-player combines unreleased material with a handful of tracks from their past EPs. The essence of Hot Chip’s brand of synthetic doo-wop plays its part, but ‘Be Strong’ stongue-in-cheek swagger can more usefully be compared to the ska-infused pop of early Madness. In a similar way in which Ian Dury’s kinetic narrations illustrated the music of The Blockheads, Raf’s cockney banter undoubtedly provides the perfect contrast to Joe’s genre-hopping beats. Title track ‘Heart Of The Congos’, ‘Slow & Easy’ and the ‘Screamadelica’-esque gospel of ‘Church’ are examples of when the Bears’ unconventional formula perfectly gels. Elsewhere, the terrain proves slightly more arduous, with ‘Take A Look Around’, ‘Ghosts & Zombies’ and ‘Time In Mind’ making up an eventful third quarter. And while ‘Be Strong’ is unlikely to pass on much influence to future generations of musicians, you’d have to be fairly joyless not to find the lighthearted lyrical content and unifying party vibes infectious. In the meantime, give The 2 Bears a hug.
File under Fiesta forever
Download ‘Be Strong’, ‘Heart Of The Congos’, ‘Church’
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