THE wait is finally over for fans of The Twilight Sad. Trailed by a couple of tantalising singles at the back end of last year, their fifth album is released this week. The enigmatically punctuated It Won/t Be Like This All The Time is their first for Mogwai’s Rock Action Records following a long relationship with Brighton’s FatCat label.

Speaking from his home in Glasgow, vocalist and songwriter James Graham, who formed the band with guitarist Andy MacFarlane in Kilsyth in the early 2000s, says he feels a mixture of excitement and apprehension at the prospect of the release, their first album since 2014’s Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave.

“Everyone has their own opinions, and that can be quite scary,” Graham says. “You always hope you’ve made a leap forward. We are really happy with it; we think we’ve done something exciting, something new, while being true to ourselves.”

The band took some time off before they started work on It Won/t Be Like This All The Time, despite pressure to “capitalise” on their 2016 US tour supporting landmark megaband The Cure.

“We didn’t want to make a record for the sake of it,” says Graham. “That’s never been the case with us. I only write when I’ve got something to say.”

The band learned much besides from the six-month tour with Robert Smith’s goth titans, a relationship that began in 2015 with Smith’s cover of their track There’s A Girl In The Corner. Graham had mentioned to Smith, below, that if The Cure ever needed a support act, The Twilight Sad would love to be asked. And not only did Smith ask – he also became their mentor.

The National:

“He would always come and watch our sound-checks,” says Graham. “He actually cares about what we do, and I still pinch myself every day thinking about whether it all actually did happen.

“We sent all our demos to Robert and he rated them out of 10 for us. He would come back with: ‘This is an eight. It could be a nine or a 10 if you tried this, or this.’ To be able to talk with one of the best songwriters of all time about your new album was just amazing.”

The band were struck by the commitment of the older crew,

who will be reunited with them in August when they play Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park with new label bosses Mogwai. More than four decades in, The Cure still want to be even better.

“They learned 150 songs for that tour,” says Graham. “They only played five songs the same every night, so every night was different. And Robert would watch the videos back, seeing how he could improve things. We’re like that too, we’re always trying to better ourselves.”

Both bands are also driven by wanting to vividly express human emotion through a range of textures, techniques, and plenty of light and dark. That’s certainly the case with this record, which, emotionally at least, is raw and bitingly honest – even for them.

“There’s a lot about how we often push away the people closest to us,” Graham says, referring to intense centrepiece Sunday Day 13, which gives the record its title.

Produced, like all Twilight Sad albums, by MacFarlane himself and tracked by live sound engineer Andy Bush, it sees long-time touring members Brendan Smith and Johnny Docherty becoming an official part of the band after the amicable departure of drummer Mark Devine to focus on his work with Chvrches.

“They’ve always been a part of the band as far as I’m concerned,” says Graham of Smith and Docherty. “With being on a new label too, it feels like a fresh start. Stuart [Braithwaite] and the Mogwai guys have always been supportive of us and have helped us when they didn’t need to, so it feels really good to be part of the Rock Action family.”

Back in 2005, The Twilight Sad were signed to FatCat at the same time as Frightened Rabbit. Since the passing of frontman Scott Hutchison in May 2018, Graham says his band play Keep Yourself Warm at every gig. Graham sang more of Hutchison’s songs at the Glasgow leg of Social Bite’s December sleep out.

“It wasn’t easy, but being up there with Grant [Scott’s brother], Andy [Monaghan] and Billy [Kennedy], it was a case of just being there for them, singing Scott’s words. Though it was hard to do, it felt like we were doing the right thing.

“We will continue to sing Scott’s words at our concerts, because there will be people that might not have heard of Frightened Rabbit, and this way they get to discover what an amazing artist and songwriter he was. And for fans, it’s a place for them to come and sing his words with us.”

Tomorrow, Monorail, Glasgow; Jan 29, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Jan 30, Clarks on Lindsay Street, Dundee, Mar 2, Barrowlands, Glasgow, Aug 16 with The Cure, Mogwai and The Joy Formidable, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow

It Won/t Be Like This All The Time is released on January 18 via Rock Action Records