IT'S been a while, hasn't it? Eight years near enough. Eight years in which the world has turned and turned and maybe fallen apart. Eight years since the last album by Ladytron, the gender-equal, purveyors of crisp electronica and doomy vibes.

In that long gap you could have been forgiven for thinking that the band were no more. People did, Helen Marnie admits.

"It had been too long, and it felt like that," the band's Scottish front woman tells me on a bright, crisp Glasgow morning in January. "I think a lot of people felt we were over. There were articles about me being an ex-Ladytron member and that wasn't correct because we never actually said that. "

Marnie is sitting in her Pollokshields home. It's 2019 and she has a new Ladytron album to promote. Ladytron, it's called; a potent, punchy, martial, ominous sounding thing. All in all, I tell her, it's a bit of a banger. Is that what the young kids still say these days, Helen? "I don't know that either," she says laughing.

She's very happy with it anyway. And so, she should be. It plays to all Ladytron's traditional strengths. It shimmers and it disturbs at the same time. Music that both thrills and consoles.

Because we need that now. What has changed between the new album and their last, Gravity the Seducer in 2011 is, well, everything. Trump, Brexit, the rise of the far right, insect extinction, melting icecaps. Things are falling apart. The centre cannot hold.

On the cover of the new album there's a picture of a forest fire and a couple abandoning their car to run towards it. Is this a subtle hint that the band are embracing the chaos of things?

Certainly, the lyrics are full of dystopian imagery ("Stop looking at me with a gun in your hand," isn't quite "Love Me Do, is it?). It seems to me, I suggest, a dark reflection of the world that's all around us at the moment.

Marnie doesn't want to commit herself fully to my theory. "It might be dictated by the climate we're in. To some extent it is. There are some tracks on there that present some of the unrest we're living in. But, also, it's more personal than that. It's about love and loss and just dealing with life."

Later I ask the same question of her fellow band member Daniel Hunt when he gets in touch from his home in Brazil where he lives with his wife. "It wasn't intentional," he suggests, "but it was apparent that certain themes were running through it once the album started to come together.

"It's not a dystopian concept record or anything. I'm just not sure if there's any other kind now. Nobody is immune from all the disquiet."

Hunt probably knows this more than most. He was actually in Glasgow when Brazil's new far right president Jair Bolsonaro was elected towards the end of last year.

"That night," he tells me, "the kind souls at the Old Hairdressers put on some music – Chico Buraque's Apesar de Voce – to raise our spirits.

"The morning after my wife was asked by someone in a street on Sauchiehall Street where she was from. When she answered this woman went ashen and just said, 'I'm so, so sorry for what has happened in your country."

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In a sense. Ladytron are representatives of a more outward-looking, internationalist vision of the world. Formed in the late 1990s in Liverpool, where Hunt and Marnie teamed up with Bulgarian-born Mira Aroyo and Reuben Wu, Ladytron (a Roxy reference, obvs) were a glittering, slinky electronic alternative in a landscape that was depressingly dominated by the indie landfill that tended to dominate the airwaves at the start of the century

They were then a reliable pleasure for the first decade of the new century before disappearing after their fifth album. Other careers and avenues have been pursued. Marnie released a couple of fine solo albums. Mira and Hunt moved into production. Wu has carved out a photography career.

Inevitably, then, the first real problem with getting back together was a purely organisational one.

"Trying to get us all together at the one time was the hardest part," admits Marnie. "We were all over the globe."

But if the ties are stretched, they are not broken. If anything, they are stronger than ever. "It's a friendship that's lasted," Marnie adds. "It's not easy to sustain that and it takes a lot of work, but, yeah, I think that's what it is."

A friendship and a working relationship. The latter is the part that the rest of us get to experience. "it's a relief for people to be finally hearing the music after all this time," suggests Hunt. "The waiting is the difficult part.

"Nothing compares with the sensation of listening back in the studio and being overwhelmed by something visceral and new."

The last time I talked to Helen Marnie, around the release of her debut solo album Crystal World, we ended up talking about the look of the cover and the tightness of her PVC catsuit. (Well, you would, wouldn't you? It's one of the reasons to like Ladytron, I suggest. They have always attended to the visual side of things.

"Yeah, it matters to me," agrees Marnie. "When I did Crystal World, I was very specific about how I wanted that to look. I wanted it to be clean, shiny, quite strict looking. So that's the route I went down with PVC.

"But with Ladytron, we had a kind of ethos from the beginning. We were making an effort. But it wasn't in a fashionista sense. It was a more utilitarian look.

"But then things moved on. I was sick of wearing a trouser suit and at the point where we are now on stage it's about movement, about how things flow for me on stage, that help me feel good on stage. That's really important.

"I don't want to go on in my jeans and T-shirt or some shite like that. I want to actually look as good as I possibly can."

Style in the face of adversity. It's something to admire. The fire this time might be hotter than for a long time, but Marnie still believes in the future.

"I'm an optimist. You have to be or else … God, what? You slit your wrists and give up?"

Ladytron are not giving up. Maybe they're only getting started.

Ladytron's new album is out now.