The new album comes out in February, but Lau will be showcasing it on their new tour which brings them to Shoreham’s Ropetackle on November 27.
Midnight and Closedown will be the fifth studio album in 12 years from Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke.
“With the new album, there is a lot of thinking about island life,” says Martin. “We have all got various connections with islands, and that’s what we have been thinking about, about island natures and about island ways of thinking.”
He is talking the smaller islands here.
“I think it can be both insular and celebratory. I think it leads to a certain pride in where you are from, but you are restricted in the number of people you meet by the number of people that are actually there.
“The title comes from a Seamus Heaney poem about the shipping forecast. I don’t think the BBC actually uses the words midnight and closedown, but that’s what it is, and I think it is a beautiful, slightly whimsical thing.”
It’s an interesting time as they prepare to take the album out on the road: “Our first experience of the songs is in the studio context. It is not material that we have been gigging live. We have to think about the incarnation of the songs that we will be taking out. In the studio, if you make mistakes you can do it again, but this is different – and now we are starting to think about reinventing the songs as a performable entity, though I think in fact they will be pretty close.
“The last record we made we had a string quartet on there which was fantastic, but that limits the number of times you can play that live because it is very expensive. But there are little things you can do to change. When you are playing live, the duration changes. Often you want to add an extra little bit when you are playing it live. I think attention spans are different when you are putting out a certain energy. When you get to the final chorus when you are playing live, I think you can often take a little bit more whereas in the studio the songs are probably more succinct on the album.
“We are going to play the album in one go on the tour, though not necessarily in the same order. We will have like the greatest hits in the first half and then we will do the album. I think that is the right way round. I don’t think people often go to concerts to hear new material, and you don’t want to have people just waiting through the new material until they get the greatest hits, so I think it is right to do the greatest hits first.”
The new album is the fifth studio album in the group’s 12 years of existence.
“In many ways it feels like 12 years, but in some ways it doesn’t. We made the first record when my son was a few months old, so he and the group have kind of grown up together. He is now at high school and nearly as tall as me. So in some ways it feels a long time ago, but in others there are things that you remember so well.”
The point is that there has been a very natural progression between the albums: “It is quite a difference now to how we first started, but it has not been like enormous leaps. It has just been little steps.”