Glasgow band Washington Irving have been ahead of the curve.
Their new release August 1914 is based around global warfare, an appropriate theme given all the tension in the world these days.
But the five-piece actually recorded the album three years ago, only for the release to be held up for various reasons.
“We had a vision for what the album should be before we started writing it,” explains singer Joe Black, who’s originally from Oban.
“Before there was even a single song the idea of a 20th century war concept record was there with us. It’s difficult to explain why we got so obsessed with it all, I think the metaphors are due to things like my uncle passing away and a relationship splitting up.
“That all happened in the same week and it felt like it was a week when your whole life changes and you have no control over the circumstances at all. I think everyone has that experience at some point, of your life spinning out of control, and it went into the songs.”
That was more than three years ago. The band had previously released two highly praised EP’s, and been compared to anyone from the Sex Pistols to Frightened Rabbit and Mumford & Sons, for the fact they are capable of writing both folksy numbers and creating an almighty racket.
The group – Joe, guitarists Martin Anfield and Kieran Heather, bassist Rory MacDonald and drummer Chris McGarry - then sat down, created the concept of August 1914 and went off to New York to record it. Since then though, it’s been three years of gigging, but no album until now.
“We had a few things going on, so waited a year until the mixing stage was complete,” says Joe, ahead of the album’s launch party at Stereo a week tomorrow (Saturday, April 29).
“Then we went on tour with Titus Andronicus, who are one of our favourite bands and really inspired the record. Then it took another year to get it finished, we all have different jobs and responsibilities now. In a lot of ways it feels like we are different people now than when we recorded it, but it still means a lot to us.”
Now the album is out, ranging from soaring pop melodies on We’re All Going To Die to The Great Unrest’s sharp indie rock and the epic noise of Tongues.
One of the record’s tracks is located close to home. Faslane Forever is a anti nuclear weapons song, something that seems even more pertinent in 2017 than it was when Joe first penned the tune.
“I had no idea how relevant it would still turn out to be come March 2017,” he says.
“To be doing it at this time is crazy given how much Faslane is being discussed – our producer was talking about it because [their single] Petrograd was released just after Trump got in, and that’s a song about war and leaving your family to go to war. He was saying how apt it was to have a record about the world spinning out of control.”
Working with Kevin McMahon, who has previously produced albums by the likes of experimental rockers Swans and punk band Titus Andronicus, was something the band were desperate to make happen. The results were intense.
“We spent a month basically living in the woods in this tiny town in New York state, working all day in this barn that Kevin had, with all this 1960s equipment he’d collected,” says Joe.
“Kevin is an amazing guy but he is very brutal. He actively tries to get you unsettled and make sure you are taking every moment very seriously. He would intentionally mess with our heads to make sure we got the most out of it – he’d be like ‘you didn’t fly 2,000 miles for a take like that!’ But that got the best out of us.”
Although the band’s album took time to emerge, they still gigged regularly in Scotland, until the past year or so. At that point they took time to focus on finishing off the album, which means their Glasgow return at Stereo next week is something Joe is thrilled by.
“We can’t wait. It’ll be interesting because we’ve never had a year and a half off from playing music before, so there’s some cobwebs to dust off. I can’t wait to see some old friends there and just play the new record.”
Washington Irving, Stereo, Saturday April 29, £10, 7pm