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Seeking Connection with Hot Chip

Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor takes a deep dive into the existential quandaries of Freakout/Release

Hot Chip Interview
Illustration by Steven Fiche
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    Towards the end of the first verse of “Freakout/Release,” the title track to Hot Chip‘s eighth studio album (out this Friday, August 19th), vocalist Alexis Taylor announces, “I need an escape and some primitive healing.” It’s a sentiment that will certainly ring true for many who hunkered down at home over the last two years, and it calls to mind the healing properties of bodies together in space, united in dance, song, or other physical sensations.

    That request of “primitive healing” is a major theme in Freakout/Release, as its title suggests — though Hot Chip have returned with their usual dance floor euphoria, there’s an advancement upon the existential quandaries found in the band’s last album, 2019’s excellent A Bath Full of Ecstasy. Across Freakout/Release‘s 11 tracks are meditations on loneliness, anxiety, feeling undesired, and even commentary on the pursuit of music in a fractured digital age.

    But for Taylor, the idea of “primitive healing” and ensuing tracks like “Hard To Be Funky (feat. Lou Hayter)” and album opener “Down” are not just about the absence of live music, but about sex. “There’s a kind of sexual tension there as well about people feeling inhibited, stuck in one place…” says Taylor, “It sounds a bit like the phrase ‘sexual healing’ from the Marvin Gaye song… it’s speaking about what it feels like to have this pent-up energy.”

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    The outburst of energy throughout the album is a perfect way introduce these ideas of “freakout and/or release,” but Hot Chip do a remarkable job of balancing that freedom with a sense of fear, doubt, and insecurity.

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