WHEN Chris McCrory formed Catholic Action in 2014 with guitarist Andrew Macpherson and friends from school Jamie Dubber (bass) and Ryan Clark (drums), people were quick to take notice of their catchy, slack-jawed pop songs. Having kept time for Casual Sex for a couple of years, McGrory wanted an outlet for his own songwriting, so when that group – described by one broadsheet as “the best Scottish indie band since Franz Ferdinand” – began to take things easier, the young musician grabbed his chance.

“I never expected things to go as well as they did,” McCrory says of Catholic Action. “But people just seemed to click with it and when we played our first tour we actually made money and the venues were always full. We got a manager and an agent really quickly and they were like: ‘You know, your songs are really good, they could be on the radio’. That sense of validation was very encouraging.”

Still, when Margo Broom, the co-producer of Catholic Action’s newly released debut album, played McCrory the Radio One A-list, the frontman broke down in tears. Perhaps being on the radio wasn’t great if this is what was being played. Recorded mostly at London’s Hermitage Studios, McCrory admits the process was often far from smooth; that early run of good luck was out.

“I would often sit in Finsbury Park in the morning before a day’s work just to gather my thoughts and calm myself down,” says McCrory. “Margo and I didn’t always see eye to eye. There was a tension about making it more pop. I don’t think much of the music that’s on Radio One is particularly good. I wanted to make interesting music, stuff that rewards multiple listens.”

McGrory got his wish, with In Memory Of featuring tracks that are a pleasure to return to such as the strutting Say Nothing and the glam-tinged likes of L.U.V and New Year, the latter set for a rerecorded festive release.

Playful at times, reflective at others, its title is a nod to the fact that Catholic Action emerged from Hermitage Studios as an outfit reborn. McGrory credits Broom with helping to forge Catholic Action Mark II.

“I wanted to bring in another producer because there’s a danger that you lose perspective, especially if you’re a writer, musician and producer,” he says. “You get too lost in it and can’t see the bigger picture, so you need someone that’s a bit removed from it. So though the process of doing the album was difficult it made us a better band. It’s not just that we know each other as musicians better, it’s that we know each other as people better. We’re now the strongest we’ve ever been.”

Still in his early twenties, McCrory is an acclaimed producer who takes his behind-the-scenes work as seriously as being Catholic Action’s frontman.

Last year he produced Kelora’s Boy, one of the most striking releases of 2016, and in recent months he’s been working with the Glasgow duo on their album, as well as with Siobhan Wilson on her thoughtful There Are No Saints and another band on Modern Sky, the Chinese label based in Liverpool that signed Catholic Action.

Like Wilson, McGrory says that songwriting can be therapeutic.

“There’s a struggle going on there in a lot of the songs,” he says. “It’s my internal monologue battling with itself. That’s one of the reasons Siobhan and I got on so well; we know writing can help you to frame your thoughts, clarify them. It’s almost that you find out what you’re actually thinking.”

Nov 6, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, 7.30pm, £9. Tickets: bit.ly/CatholicPetes

Nov 7, Broadcast, Glasgow, 7pm, £7. Tickets: bit.ly/CatholicBroadcast

In Memory Of is out on Modern Sky