IT’S difficult for an artist to ever be recognised as being truly original, but Young Fathers arguably have more right than most to the claim. Last year the Edinburgh trio came out of nowhere to bag the Mercury music prize for their debut LP Dead, and the follow-up White Men Are Black Men Too proves to be just as disorientating for the first-time listener.

If a riotous blend of hip-hop, rock, soul and electronica reads as cacophonous, that’s because it absolutely is, but that doesn’t negate from Young Fathers’ mission as a band.

Boasting a sound that has a complete disregard for framework, the clearest message that is articulated here is that they refuse to be tied down by anyone, anything or any ideology.

“You know the amount of times I’ve read someone describe artists or an album as the best thing since ‘this’, only to realise that they’re nothing original,” says band member G Hastings.

“Labels and PR teams have realised saying phrases like ‘mind altering’ are what the kids want to hear and feel. They say they love you, but they never will.”

This second album is at once the most experimental, most political and most emotional project they’ve released to date, perhaps because this one articulates a tangible message most clearly.

“I’m tired of playing the good black, I’m tired of blaming the white man, a black man can play him,” goes the refrain on Old Rock n Roll. “Some white men are black men too.”

With two of the group members being of African origin, the group are frank about opening up discussions of race, and the “provocative” album title immediately sets the tone for what proves to be a challenging listen in more ways than one.

“The title is an unavoidable statement that needs interrogating because it’s not clear, right?” poses G in response.

“We were worried about how people from the black community would perceive it. The title means, we get a chance to say that to you, in a newspaper that people read and maybe that might spark people to say ‘that sounds wrong’, or even to do something about it in whatever way they can.”

The music itself presents a challenge too. The group declare that they “like to make music that shines bright like a lighthouse beacon on a foggy night”, and much like on their debut their sound is distinct in the way it leaps out at the listener.

Like on Dead the vocals still tend to be buried beneath whizzing synthesisers and rumbling basslines, but it’s the energy that is most immediately discernible on this record. Even if the effect washes over you at first, the unbridled power and emotion on show is what strikes you most on tracks like Liberated and Shame.

Elsewhere, the band show a new-found willingness to wear their pop influences on their sleeve. Lurking beneath the claustrophobic textures and disparate instrumentation that manifests on so many tracks, Sirens is as close to a ballad as anything the trio have recorded, while their trademark chanted vocals are utilised on 27 in a more momentous way as they analyse the death of young artists.

What is not as pronounced here nearly as much is the hip-hop influence that characterised their early EPs.

It could be considered misleading to say that Young Fathers have outgrown the genre or local scene, because the group don’t consider themselves particularly attached to it anyway.

“We don’t see ourselves as hip-hop and never have, although there are elements of hip-hop in what we do,” stresses G. “Why get tribal about music?”

This attitude sums up Young Fathers to a tee: a group that approach any kind of labelling or box-fitting with trepidation.

The group put their ethos best themselves: “We believe in the block party where everyone’s invited, where they don’t check to see how much of the top of your underpants is showing or whether your accent is authentic.

“We are just ourselves and we challenge you to be your own, original self, too.”

White Men Are Black Men Too is out now. Young Fathers play Art School, Glasgow on 20 May, Central Hall, Edinburgh on 9 June, and are planning a tour of northern Scotland.