JTwo decades after their formation, Hot Chip have all but attained national treasure status for their playful, soulful, sometimes biting, sometimes amorous take on dance pop. They never sagged – and yet their forthcoming eighth album, Freakout/Release, is a standout in a catalog that has no shortage of them, filled with bloody pop songs that broaden – and darken – the usual scope of the group.
Starring Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon, The Evil That Men Do evokes racial tensions and violence against women, while Not Alone despairs fallen male heroes: “It was never the heroines who let us down”, sings leader Alexis Taylor. There are also more marked personal lows here too, with tracks such as Broken, Guilty and Out of My Depth nodding to the sense of loss of control that many people felt during the abrupt end of the pandemic.
Reuniting was key to Freakout/Release: The band built a new studio, Relax and Enjoy, in 2019 and 2020, and were finally able to reunite to write and record once lockdown restrictions were lifted. The idea was to capture their tremendous live energy – in particular their beloved live cover of Sabotage by the Beastie Boys – as well as evoking the joie de vivre that the late French producer Philippe Zdar brought to their latest album, A Bath. Full of Ecstasy from 2019. This vigor points to an ultimately optimistic album, designed to help remove the strains of modern life and recognize the beauty of survival.
You can ask them about it all, collaborating with Jarvis Cocker, Katy Perry and Ibibio Sound Machine, performing as holograms during lockdown, their contribution to the Late Night Tales compilation series, how they wrote the most all-time great song (Over and Over, carry on) – and all you love – when Joe Goddard and Al Doyle sit down for the Guardian readers’ interview next week.
Ask your questions in the comments below and their answers will be posted online and in our Film & Music section on Friday August 5th.