Live: Say Yeah, Yeah, Yes. Hot Chip, O2 Academy Brixton.

Themselves hailing from south of the river, Hot Chip's two shots at headlining what tonight feels an humongous O2 Academy Brixton pertain to the feel of celebratory homecoming. Familiar and indeed in some way familial almost, rather than plump for your conventional review format, I'll here attempt to construct a persuasive piece concerning quite why Hot Chip would most probably be the best wedding band imaginable...

First and foremost, Alexis Taylor's band of ever mirthful men have become something of a naff pastiche; a parodical reinterpretation of themselves almost, and most pertinently of the days in which they first set about Coming On Strong through in turn reinterpreting Prince through a gawky, lo-fi filter. They've since become as easy on the ear as tonight's light show is on the eye or, again most pertinently, the iPhone. Synth whiz Owen Clarke's cracked open the dad dancing even from Shake A Fist, a track to immediately instil a sense of jubilation as the reception festivities begin. Such is their all-embracive appeal that there are, moreover, a slew of could-be dads in attendance, and it was arguably this ability to smooth over generation gaps like Nutella over crumbly bread that made their Camp Bestival showing such an indisputable success.

Although of course their greatest triumph is Alexis Taylor's great penchant for emotive, soul-infused pop, and it's testament to the all-pervasive strength of their songs that Boy From School be tossed off so early on. It's worthy of an encore climax – as it once was – and it brings with it a slight wistfulness for times passed. The nostalgia of youth; the loss of freedom and assumption of responsibility as the human grows older and, in the case of many, marries.

Yet as with such ceremonious stuff, the prominent sensation tonight is one of celebration. Onstage; in the stalls; and up amongst the so-called "balcony people." Despite the number of shows Hot Chip have played – even last summer alone – badinage is something the band have still anything but perfected. Theirs is a klutzy charm, and as Al Doyle dedicates the next one "to everybody here", it's more surprising still given the irrefutable perfection intrinsic to a throbbing Flutes. We're bathed in wafts of red; awash with euphoria, as they've evidently found time to refine a simple, if effective dance routine. Priorities, eh? They'd certainly be better suited to a first dance than any best man speech...

That they mutter with an ungainly lack of conviction between each clump of loveable electropop oughtn't astound though, for lyrical vapidity has long since been something of a hallmark. "Don't deny your heart/ Don't destroy your heart (say yeah, yeah, yes)", the chorus to an invigorated Don't Deny Your Heart that is otherwise bursting with idiosyncrasy, is quite symptomatic of this superficiality in feeling articulated lyrically. They're still getting away with it, but at times it's becoming a little suspect. The sound, too, is overly slushy: indicative of the Academy, it's all a little hefty on their newly reinforced rhythm section although that's nowt to do with the renaissance of "Sarah motherfuckin' Jones." She has become a fantabulous rhythmist in her own right and, apropos to extended matrimonial allegory, tonight burgeons in a bridal shade of off-white.

Having already tarnished Taylor's lyrical rep, I feel duty bound to go back on evils previously avowed, for One Life Stand is the sublime epitome of where they get everything right collectively. Propelled by steel pans and puffed up by some of their most saccharine, yet still unfeigned words if musically it may resound with the synthetic aplomb of white boi funk then lyrically it's perfectly tender. It has, to this day, kept its word as it still stands as their one true beauty. Beneath the disorientating blitz of a disco ball triumvirate, it remains a consummate piece of off-kilter pop, and that even above a dense cloud of chatter around the back bar. There's an ecstatic clap-along to its every chorus and, as Taylor leads us gleefully, the boy least likely to furthers his proposal for being the band's most focal member; now the sort to reproduce that outré monologue on an otherwise insignificant Night And Day over two Academy nights.

And it's a lyric from within, of "a balloon with air escaping" that has bustled about my head for some time now. For I've previously feared that with the transition from Made In The Dark, to One Life Stand, to In Our Heads that we're perhaps witnessing a once faultless act – and debatably one that blew up a little too swiftly around '06 – deflating before our very eyes. Shrivelling up, even, into nothing but a destitute memory of better times once had. And alas tonight there is both evidence for and against such perception. This pretty much fluctuates on a song-to-song basis, even if the singability of each remains consistent throughout. I'll start with the bad, and the worst is Brothers: wheeled out for a post-punk redux, it's fluffed up to sound akin to The Killers, or Genesis or something. They've brought along a two-piece horn section comprising Waits enthusiasts and members of The Magic Bullets, Terry Edwards and Caroline Hall, and yet their every endeavour is rendered nonexistent in a mix grimier than these surrounds. Any sharp moment in which their work does protrude through at all is evocative of the flatulent parping of a wedding brass ensemble struggling against a mawkish pre-record. The musical feel is then thereby one almost of Nyman does Numan, as Joe Goddard's cloying familial sentimentality evokes the antithesis of any so-called "wild love" and with both he and Taylor already in oversized white coats, they're aptly costumed to take this doddering claptrap away. Instead, it drags on longer than a Boxing Day.

Similarly, the faddy yet flimsy R'n'B pretences of Look At Where We Are do little to refocus our negligent attentions. And it's understandable, for forget south of the river; its dodgy sway could be more closely aligned with Southampton's cherished Craig. These lethargic blues are even at one point booed. But as the BPM is ratcheted up again with the ebullient teddybear techno of How Do You Do? the mood is instantaneously ameliorated, and their every wrongdoing is swiftly forgiven. How do they do it, indeed? The lighting makes out as though they're unsure whether they're now New Order and, as aforementioned, momentarily they sound commensurately unsure. Yet they're surely to be forever revered as a band significant to the enduring existence of British pop: despite the heavy guitar leaning, and that they've eradicated much of the awkwardness that was once their primary allure to resemble something of a glorified wedding band covering their own stuff almost exclusively, theirs is a longstanding relevance. And, as such, they're the best of wedding bands around. At moments they're certainly embarrassing enough to warrant such an accolade, and you'd indubitably have to have the grotesque, protracted intro to an otherwise spotless Ready For The Floor removed at request. But in pasting in a snippet from Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want to Have Fun and ramming that into their now customary Fleetwood Mac cover, there's more than enough in their arsenal to keep the bars in business.

Everywhere gets relocated to Paul Simon's sonic imagining of Graceland – the title track being another cover the band are coincidentally more than capable of providing – as Taylor, in pallid slacks, stalks the shadow as though one of '90s hip hop's lost boys. At a time when he would have indeed still been a boy from school, he assumes an Eminem offensive. His supremely huggable counterpart Goddard, meanwhile, in pasty flannel looks a little like R. Kelly seeking Cuban solitude. Yet the two once classmates continue to compliment each other as do the playground schemist and his trusty, duller practitioner. They're made for each other; the holiest of matrimonies.

However at this point things become a little more blustery; unpredictable; exhilarating, ultimately. Hold On skips a gear or two as it skids into commotion. "You'll never get to heaven if you don't give back", Goddard exhales heavily and with all that premarital copulation, few here congregated will discover whether or not it truly tastes of caramel. The horns are again inessential, as they're entirely inaudible yet there's a quite essential contradiction within, and one that's worth beholding a minute. For where one imagines Taylor et al. would once have been deemed extrasocietal oddballs, it's the chumps here clambering atop shoulders that may have been those to have then thumped the likes of Hot Chip; to have tormented their school days with caustic words and callous fists. It's now, however, Alexis doing the aggravating. "Son, I have a good mind to take you outside" he menaces, the proverbial thumb and fluttering fingers raised to his nose. He's reached a realm intangible to we mere plebs, and has effectively won out. He may have his glasses trampled and pockets ransacked out on Stockwell Road, but within these four walls he is nigh on idolised.

And speaking level playing fields, with a festival ambience already conjured by the omnipresent pungency of cigarette smoke and copious amounts of strobe, there's this one truly unifying bit in Over And Over during which the floor becomes a flailing mass. It looks like something off a DVD; one far more watchable than 9 Songs, if less unnecessarily sexual. It's a scene of jubilant obliteration; of everyone having the best ruddy time irregardless, or rather because of. Repetition never sounded so darn refreshing either although despite this superficially unifying experience, a sense of self-consciousness lingers. Quite why there are people here not mimicking the clanging of miniature cymbals perplexes; vexes to a degree. This is inanity at its most excellent, and there are couples now semi-ravishing one another.

There are no such distractions on a strangely forceful Motion Sickness: eyes blearied by giddying rays of light and Jones' drums guttural, it's an almost dramaturgical display of efficiency. This is followed up by a bit of a weird one, as Goddard protégé Valentina – a real wedding singer sort – emerges to bellow their collaborative track, Gabriel. It's a quite befuddling manoeuvre, if its chorus could shatter a bar's worth of overpriced bottled spirit. A somewhat overwrought intro to I Feel Better takes in glimpses of ATB-esque Euro-trance and, if nothing else, again elucidates quite how much work has gone into the live show. Balearia suffused throughout, a pair of crutches is hoisted high in its closing stages. Less fist-shaker and more leg-breaker live, it has become a crunchy number equated to their finest musical calculations. Let Me Be Him serves almost as prerequisite therefore; a slow-burner ignited to stamp out the show's now dwindling cinders.

If I may revert to overblown metaphor a moment, it'd only be to footnote the evening with an unfortunately necessary vilification of certain someones. Chatterers, thugs, and crusty types in two-year-old Reading wristbands aside even, whilst the live music experience ought to be a communal celebration – as previously alluded to both within this review and umpteen times before on this very site – Hot Chip have begun to attract the sorts you'd not only never even dream of inviting to that so-called special day, but those that disenchant even in a night of unacquaintance. They're the sorts to stand on the left-hand side of the escalators; they that employ the age-old vocable gay as a pejorative term. In typical Brixton fashion, many are off long before any encore.

This is perhaps predictable, and at times so too are Hot Chip. Although as one perhaps all too optimistically envisages when embarking on a legally binding matrimony, there's now an enduring infatuation between us and them. They mean everything to many. And whilst others have long since been divorced from memory (look no further than she in the shadowy back bit of the stage, for Sarah Jones was once of odious fluoro-pop aspirants, New Young Pony Club) Hot Chip remain, unchanged; a One Life Stand of sorts.