For a band so far into their career to sound both hugely contemporary and unlike anything else in the current music scene is no mean feat. Saint Etienne have done just that with ‘Heather’, the first single from their forthcoming new album, Home Counties.

The first proper new release in five years (2012’s Words and Music by Saint Etienne was predominantly great), Sarah, Bob and Pete’s new long-player celebrates what the trio describe as the doughnut of shires that ring the capital. ‘Heather’ itself is an eerie-pop conjuring of the Enfield Poltergeist, which delights and – once you delve into its subject matter – can unsettle in equal measure.

The vocal harmonies introducing the track call to mind the sonic underlay at the heart of 2005’s Tales from Turnpike House and the overall feel of the song’s arrangement is almost like an updated take on Metronomy’s ‘The Look’. There is an instant draw to Sarah Cracknell’s ghostly vocals, which repeat the refrain “this house is haunted”.

When you find out that one of your favourite artists is about to release new music after a bit of a hiatus, it’s always good to be positively surprised at the outcome, when you finally hear it. And ‘Heather’ is the perfect comeback single for the gang of three - it sits well in their discography as a tale with its own account and one which fits in with the overarching narrative of its parent album. Its production is not predictable (again - for an act as established as this, it’s often difficult to battle against sounding careworn and repetitive) and it manages to be unquestionably pop without sounding formulaic.

Home Counties is out on Heavenly on 2 June. ‘Heather’ is out now.