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About Group: Start And Complete

What’s made Hot Chip one of the most intriguing groups of the past decade is that, above its elastic foundation of beats, its music oozes casually brilliant songcraft and nervy twinges of experimentalism. These qualities were underlined on Rubbed Out, the 2008 solo debut by Hot Chip cofounder Alexis Taylor. Start And Complete is the new full-length by Taylor’s supergroup, About Group, but in many ways, it’s Rubbed Out II. Despite the presence of high-profile collaborators Charles Hayward of This Heat, John Coxon of Spiritualized, and British avant-jazz vet Pat Thomas, Start And Complete is Taylor’s show. But where Rubbed Out sounds murky and asthmatic, Start And Complete breathes deeply and sparkles brightly. Instead of covering Paul McCartney, as he did on the solo album, Taylor channels the former Beatle on the Let It Be-esque “Don’t Worry”—a shuffling, sunny-with-a-chance-of-clouds ballad that sees Thomas and his churchlike organ acting as a surrogate for Billy Preston. With Hot Chip, Taylor has collaborated with Robert Wyatt, and Wyatt’s influence seeps into “A Sinking Song,” a skeletal assemblage of prog-pop that feels like its being pulled apart at the joints. It would have been great to hear Hayward and Coxon bring more of their distinct voices to the table, but with songs as charmingly off-kilter and sweetly understated as this, it’s hard to complain.


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