“WHEN the teardrops fall, and they just won’t end,” croons Katie Pope in When Nietzsche Calls, the seemingly heartfelt centrepiece of the new album by Scots indie-pop sextet The Just Joans. “You can count on me,” she continues, before delivering the stomach-kicker: “to rub my hands with glee”.

In her 2018 book Schadenfreude: The Joy of Another’s Misfortune, cultural historian Tiffany Watt Smith argued that almost everyone, from your closest friends to even nuns and babies, can take pleasure in your pain, especially when that suffering is seen as “deserved”.

There are biological, evolutionary reasons for this, Watt Smith continued, with the only relationships immune being those between parents and their children and romantic partners – as long as things are peachy.

Perhaps the author is a fan of The Just Joans, a band whose output frequently deals with emotions we’d often sooner suppress with harmful habits rather than confront head-on.

Formed in Glasgow in 2005 by Katie’s brother – and The Just Joans’ chief songwriter – David, early albums Last Tango In Motherwell and Virgin Lips set songs about grey skies, teenage gangsters and “getting dumped by my lassie in the Strathy” to lo-fi melodies and sing-a-long choruses.

An eight-year relationship with now defunct London label WeePOP! helped them gain fans from way beyond their hometown, just as their most recent albums have seen them develop musically from their lo-fi origins.

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of The Just Joans, out this month, retains their love for the acidic indie-cabaret of the genre’s acknowledged master Stephin Merritt while presenting their strongest, most accomplished songs yet.

“Because we released two albums quite quickly and have been playing a lot together, we’re at a point where we’re sounding really quite good,” says Katie of the band, which now features brass and keys from multi-instrumentalist Arion Xenos alongside long-time members Chris Elkin, Fraser Ford and Jason Sweeney.

The National: The new album tackles the themes of growing olderThe new album tackles the themes of growing older

String arrangements by Alison Eales, a member of Ford’s other band Butcher Boy, feature on a number of tracks, including The One I Loathe The Least, the closest The Just Joans have come to a simple love song.

With the Pope siblings in fine vocal fettle, they sing a tribute to a significant other at a time when “the record stores have closed their doors, the cinema’s shut down”.

But while those escapes from drizzle and disappointment are gone, the song finds awkward adolescent emotions are resurfacing well into adulthood and the anxieties of middle-age.

In typical Just Joans style, the next track is a synthy dance throb called Another Doomed Relationship. Still, The National suggests The One I Loathe The Least is a sterling alternative wedding march. “That would be lovely,” Katie says. “There is a genuine sentiment there, of celebrating finding people who get where you’re coming from and feeling like it’s you and them against the world.”

From preferring staying in rather than braving the “battleground” of going out (Hey Ho Let’s Not Go) to lamenting knife crime (the Manics-style anthem of Wee Guys) and small town thinking (Who Does Susan Think She Is?), much of the record is about “getting older and not necessarily wiser”, says Katie.

Though vocals are split between the siblings, it’s David that writes the acerbic, frank and sometimes vulnerable lyrics. His narratives often straddle fantasy, misrememberings and real life, says his sister. “A lot of the songs are stuff that’s happened in my life,” says Katie. “We’ve been doing the band for ten years and we’ve been through stuff. While David might sometimes take things too close to the bone, he always discusses the lyrics with me when he writes a song from a female perspective. Because we’re brother and sister, there’s always been a lot of discussion. It’s almost like performance art in a way, a playfulness in playing a character.”

These characters are not always nice characters. “People can be selfish, people can be vengeful,” Katie says. “A lot of these songs shine a light on uncomfortable things about human nature. It’s not all: ‘I’m so much of a great guy’. It’s about recognising all of us have these kind of thoughts. It’s part of being human and I think a lot of our humour comes from there”.

Saturday, The Flying Duck, Glasgow, 7.30pm, £6 (+bf). www.thejustjoans.co.uk.The Private Memoirs and Confessions Of The Just Joans is out now