In the music video for the first single off Alexis Taylor’s fourth solo album, the chiming voice of the Hot Chip frontman bursts out onto a well-curated set of British-looking youths dancing in the woods. Even the trees look very British, in that spooky whomping willow-kinda way. Much of Taylor’s solo career has craned away from the dance floor beats that his day job opened up in 2006, a series of minimalizing records that cumulated in 2016’s Piano, whose title spoke for itself. But “Beautiful Thing,” the title track on Taylor’s latest offering, kicks in with a 4×4 and a piano line that more faintly recalls Jamie xx’s latest incantation then anything on the stripped-down ivories. Also new in the mix is Tim Goldsworthy, estranged James Murphy pal, who produced the record.
Goldsworthy, who also did some production for the last Massive Attack full-length, makes the drums sound ruminative and unsure which compliments Taylor’s vocals, sincere as ever and haunting material comforts. On Why Make Sense?, Taylor had staked his claim to the Black Mirror-pop throne with refrains like “replace us with the things that do the job better” so it, uh, makes sense that he appears now, in the trees, whispering a cautionary tale to kids on their iPhones: “You gave me this thing, that music was in…”
Be wary of all pied pipers, charming British children! Beautiful Thing is out April 20th on Domino.