Two decades after their formation, Hot Chip have pretty much achieved national treasure status for their playful, soulful, sometimes biting, sometimes lovelorn take on dance pop. They’ve never slouched – and yet their forthcoming eighth album, Freakout/Release, is a standout in a catalogue not short on them, filled with full-blooded pop songs that widen – and darken – the band’s usual scope.
Featuring Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon, The Evil That Men Do touches on racial tension and violence against women, while Not Alone despairs at fallen male heroes: “It’s never the heroines that let us down,” sings frontman Alexis Taylor. There are starker 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 sharp end of the pandemic.
Reuniting was key to Freakout/Release: the band built a new studio, Relax and Enjoy, in 2019 and 2020, and finally got to come together to write and record once lockdown restrictions lifted. The idea was to capture their formidable live energy – especially their beloved live cover of Beastie Boys’s Sabotage – as well as to evoke the joie de vivre that the late French producer Philippe Zdar brought to their last album, 2019’s A Bath Full of Ecstasy. That vigour points towards an ultimately optimistic album, one designed to help shimmy out the tensions of modern life and acknowledge the beauty of survival.
You can ask them about any of that, 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 greatest song of all time (Over and Over, keep up) – and anything else you like – when Joe Goddard and Al Doyle sit for the Guardian’s reader interview next week.
Post your questions in the comments below and their answers will be published online and in our Film & Music section on Friday 5 August.