Release Date: Apr 17, 2012
Record label: Lanark Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Alternative Dance
The third in a recent string of unreasonably excellent Hot Chip side projects, following About Group's Start & Complete and the 2 Bears' Be Strong -- all released within a year of one another and also, impressively, as the band were preparing their own soon-to-be-released fifth album) -- New Build is spearheaded by guitarist Al Doyle (also of LCD Soundsystem) and drummer (in this group, bassist) Felix Martin. Given its pedigree, Yesterday Was Lived & Lost holds exactly no stylistic surprises, offering a familiar blend of gently melodic synth pop and electronic dance-rock with plenty of percussive, LCD-style disco-funk workouts. Doyle may not have the undeniable personality and charisma of James Murphy, Joe Goddard, or Alexis Taylor -- though he does have a bit of Taylor's earnest sweetness.
The genius of Hot Chip has always been their ability to alchemize disparate musical elements-- indie, electro, R&B, even the cadences and slang of hip-hop-- into a unique whole. So maybe it's no surprise that the individual band members' splinter projects over the past couple of years have tended to home in on one sound or another-- the 2 Bears' big, cuddly house and club pop, About Group's trad blue-eyed soul, etc. -- though not always with thrilling results.
New BuildYesterday Was Lived and Lost[Lanark; 2012]By David Wolfson; April 2, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGNew Build is a project by Al Doyle, Felix Martin, and Tom Hopkins, all members or affiliates of the band Hot Chip. On the heels of releases from side projects by two other members of Hot Chip (About Group and The 2 Bears), and with a new album on the way from their main band, it seems like it would be easy to dismiss New Build as merely another lesser distillation of Hot Chip’s sound. While such a classification is not unwarranted, as there are few ideas on Yesterday Was Lived And Lost that you won’t find on a Hot Chip release, New Build do show us why these projects are still worth listening to by sticking to their strengths and getting solid results.
Hot Chip’s new album, In Our Heads, is just a couple months away, but Al Doyle and Felix Martin have a fully realized record of their own as New Build. Along with electronic composer and studio engineer Tom Hopkins, Doyle and Martin formed New Build last year, becoming the latest in a series of Hot Chip affiliates and spin-offs including The 2 Bears and About Group. Perhaps it’s best to consider Hot Chip less of a traditional band and more of a collective because the former implies that any related acts are merely side projects, and New Build doesn’t feel like a side project on Yesterday Was Lived and Lost.
This review originally ran in AP 286. Hot Chip’s Felix Martin and Al Doyle, in cahoots with composer/studio engineer Tom Hopkins, dabble in various shades of electro on Yesterday Was Lived And Lost, their debut full-length under the moniker New Build. Bustling, bleeping ’80s synth-pop (“Mercy”), swooning synth-rock in the vein of U.K. prog innovators Roxy Music (“Misery Loves Company”) and M83-style dream-pop cut with sputtering rhythms (“Silence And Muttering”) are highlights; “Medication” and “The Third One,” both of which conjure TV On The Radio’s scorched electro-funk (by way of Talking Heads), and the tender, piano-shimmered soul ballad “Last Gasp” are equally engaging.