IT’S been five years since Dante released their debut album Wake. Their new album I Wear Your Weight With Mine is released on March 9 and is a collection of songs focused on the relationships we build over the course of lives.

From folk-rock anthems such as current single Sermons (recently premeried on The National’s website) to the angsty clatter of Detachment Souvenir to lullably-like closer Wolves, it’s a record with emotional and songwriting maturity.

“The writing is a lot stronger and musically it’s a lot more developed,” says founder and frontman Sean McLaughlin. This is partly due, he says, to the band’s six-strong line-up remaining static throughout the writing and recording of I Wear Your Weight With Mine, which features mandolin-player and author Stephen Thom and fiddler Vicky Gray, a former member of Shetland’s Young Heritage, the fiddle group originally brought together by the late Dr Tom Anderson.

“We get described as folk rock or alt folk and a lot of that is Vicky’s doing,” says McLaughlin. “A lot of what she does is rooted in the Shetland fiddle tradition and her contributions are really valued.”

Most of Wake’s songs were the result of McLaughlin “sitting in the dark on my own” and while the frontman says he still needs his own space to write lyrics, around half of the album’s tracks began with the six getting together to play, sometimes in Perth, and sometimes in the village hall in Kinnesswood, east of Loch Leven, where he now lives since moving from Edinburgh.

“The six of us would get together and make some noise in a room,” he says. “That was a new creative process for me as a lot of what I’d done in the past was quite isolated. Having five other people in the room changes that dynamic considerably, and I think we have made a much better record as a result.”

Recorded and tracked by Garry Boyle at Slate Room Studios in Pencaitland, East Lothian, the album was produced by Frightened Rabbit’s Andy Monaghan. Monaghan had been the producer of choice for Wake, but his commitments with Frightened Rabbit meant the majority of that album was recorded by the band themselves.

“We thought it would be a similar deal with this record, but this time we worked around him, and he ended up doing the whole thing,” says McLaughlin. “He mixed a lot of it while on the road with Frightened Rabbit. Using Andy as a creative filter really had an impact on what we do.”

Monaghan isn’t the only big name on the album’s credit list. I Wear Your Weight With Mine was mastered by Howie Weinberg, a legendary engineer who has worked on countless classics including Motorhead’s The Ace of Spades, Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill and Nirvana’s Nevermind.

“We had initially hired someone online to master it and we ended up getting ripped off,” McLaughlin explains. “Howie Weinberg found out and he offered to do it for us. We would have never expected something like that. We were over the moon.”

Artwork for the album, which also features a selection of short stories by Thom inspired by the songs, was designed by Tracy Maurice, Arcade Fire’s former “artist in residence”.

“I knew Tracy from a friend-of-a-friend, but I didn’t know she had designed the covers for Neon Bible and Funeral which are my favourite Arcade Fire albums in terms of artwork,” says McLaughlin. “She wanted the work to reflect the themes of relationships, so in the gatefold there are beautifully photographed images of items found beachcombing and tools that belonged to my grandfather who was a violin maker.”

Though some tracks are emotionally turbulent, the frontman describes the album as “hugely positive”. The “weight” of the title is not a burden but the mutual support found in the most fulfilling of relationships.

“The songs are snapshots of particular feelings,” McLaughlin explains. “You can feel in complete despair sometimes but you get through it, and there is resolution. Relationships – not just romantic but with family members and friends – can have a huge impact on you. It’s a big subject but the album has a positive message. The ‘weight’ isn’t something negative or something you resent.”

The most rewarding thing for McLaughlin, he says, is for people to take their own meanings from his song-writing, a craft partly developed through his time playing in The Birthday Suit, the band led by Idlewild’s Rod Jones. Originally taken on as a touring guitarist while both were living in Leith, Jones kept him on for subsequent writing.

“I learned a lot about the process and things were demystified,” he says. “There’s that myth of people assuming that because something is good that the people behind it must be geniuses. “Working in a creative environment like that, you realise that it’s more about work ethic. You maybe don’t believe it until you see it, but so much of it is about getting up in the morning and writing.”

Apr 20, Twa Tams, Perth, free.

Apr 21 with Broken Records, Church, Dundee, £10. Tickets from

May 4 to May 6, Shetland Folk Festival, Lerwick, Shetland. Tickets from

May 18 with Nieves, Cafe Drummonds, Aberdeen, £7.25. Tickets from

Jul 18 to Jul 21, HebCelt Festival, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. Tickets from

I Wear Your Weight With Mine is out on March 9 2018 via Stitch Records.