If there's such a thing as laissez-faire funk, this reissue of Hot Chip's 2004 album proves that these London electro-weirdos excel at it. We find vocalist Alexis Taylor barely able to keep his eyes open while sing-songing "I like to rock" over a wobble-drunk organ line ("The Beach Party"), the least enthusiastic ode to bling ever recorded ("Shining Escalade") and four really excellent notes in search of a melody, but content to ride a bitchin' beat ("Crap Kraft Dinner"). It's as if Royksopp scraped away all the pretty, emotional ethereality of their music and left behind just a tired, wheezing mess of beat-to-death beats and hollow, throbbing basslines. That's not to say that Coming On Strong isn't as awesome as its title is oxymoronic. The very fact that these guys deny their listeners the visceral payoff these deep-funk grooves are begging for is a remarkable sort of inverse confrontation. Rather than screaming in your face (so overdone) or turning up the distortion level on their 303s (likewise), Hot Chip deals out a different, and more tempting, kind of dissatisfaction.
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