OPENING T in the Park’s main stage yesterday will have been a moment of vindication for synth pop trio Prides. After several years of graft for various Glasgow- based bands, they had finally “made it” in more than just a proverbial sense.

As well as earning their big T break, the band also released their long-awaited debut album The Way Back Up on the same day. Speaking to The National two months ago, lead vocalist Stewart Brock indicated that T in the Park would be the “perfect launch show” for the album and that their songs had “that festival vibe”.

It takes no more than a passing listen to confirm that is the case. The Way Back Up is an overwhelming record full of joyous melodies, passionate choruses and reverberant production.

There’s a stadium-friendly quality to the band’s sound that comes across as remarkably natural. Almost every track here strives to be larger-than-life, as the band audaciously position themselves on the same

80s-rooted terrain that Chvrches inhabited on their debut two years ago.

However, there are some key differences between the two. Prides seem more open about their admiration for big, emotive synth pop from that era – Simple Minds come to one’s thoughts first and foremost.

Tracks such as Higher Love and Little Danger are consciously anthemic, with chants and repetitive mantras that you quickly find yourself singing along to.

Similarly, the harmonies and gang vocals on It’s Not Gonna Change are practically built for crowd participation.

Even the structure is geared towards emulating classic pop albums of yesteryear. The record is sequentially anchored around its stand-out hits – Messiah and Out of the Blue are very selectively placed on the track listing – and closes proceedings on its singular melancholic moment, the piano ballad The Kite String And The Anchor Rope. It’s easy to be cynical about this of course. The album as a whole is as intense in its overt melodrama as a Disney movie, though it’s crass to compare the two. Prides have hit on a defined formula that works very effectively, but 40 minutes of it may feel emotionally draining.

Prides’ riposte to this criticism could be relatively straight-forward: if sugary pop music isn’t your bag, then this isn’t for you. If anything, repeat listens reveal different elements and textures at work, and by then the different hooks are well embedded in your brain anyway.

Much of this is thanks to the terrific vocal melodies and harmonies from Brock and fellow vocalist and keyboardist Callum Wiseman. Brock in particular transmits a messianic zeal that give these tracks an edge, especially on the aptly named Messiah.

His vocal performance here is exceptional, contributing to what is arguably the highlight of the whole record. The track’s synth melodies fizz around intermittently over a booming drumbeat from Lewis Gardiner, before making way for a hard-hitting chorus.

Given the track’s sense of spectacle, it’s no surprise that it was such a hugely popular feature during last year’s Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.

The reception it received was telling, in fact. We’ve grown very much accustomed to dour miserablism from our Scottish artists over the years. No matter which specific genre or category they were packaged in, our most celebrated artists have generally been of a greyish hue.

Bands such as Prides suggest that’s changing, and they’re one of many new artists whose music is abundant with defiant optimism. “We’ve got to keep ourselves in the fight,” declares Brock on Just Say It.

He’s even more on explicit on Higher Love where he calls for “no more cold defeat”, before proclaiming that “they say we don’t know enough, well I know enough”.

Such messages of hope and resistance will resonate with a Scottish population that is as mobilised and active as it’s ever been. The Way Back Up is a cerebral, empowering debut that draws more than just cheesy hooks and syrupy synthesisers from the 80s cauldron.

Though they’ve released only one EP previously as a final trio, there’s a self-assurance and ambition to Prides that will serve them well in the long term. Even if they don’t immediately take over the world with this release, it will at the very least be the Scottish album that everyone is talking about this summer.

The Way Back Up is out now on Island Records.