"We never wanted to be part of a scene, we always thought our band was good enough to stand on our own and not ride on the back of anyone's coat tails. We've seen so many bands come and go over the past few years. The growth of this band has been very natural and I just think it's because we're honest and we're not trying to be anything we're not."

The Twilight Sad have always been a band set apart from trends. Their debut Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters saw a band already complete, with an identity and a sound that was uniquely theirs. Now they return with record number three – No One Can Ever Know – and there seems no signs of them falling into line.

No One Can Ever Know sees them take The Twilight Sound trademark wall-of-noise sound and add dark dance hooks and synths – to gloriously ominous effect. But as James Graham, their distinctively voiced and impassioned frontman, says it’s still distinctively a Twilight Sad album: "I think there are things about our band that we can never change such as my voice, the way we write, the tone of our albums and the honesty within our song writing. Saying all that, there was no point where we sat down together and discussed changing anything about our sound, we just got on with writing and used the sounds/instrumentation that excited us and suited these new songs."

What came out of these new writing sessions however was something new – an album that already promises to be one of the albums of the year. Graham and the band are understandably proud of their new record – though he won’t be listening to it again.

"I know I'll be able to look back in 10 years time and still be really proud of our third record. I'm excited to get out there and play these songs live. After the record is released I won't listen to it again and it will be all about the live versions of the songs. I've never listened to any of our albums again after their release."

If you want an example of this new sound just listen to new single ‘Another Bed’ – it’s like nothing they’ve ever done before, featuring a shimmering propulsive disco beat and stabbing synths. Yet it nearly never made the album:

"’Another Bed’ is a strange one. We went down to record in London thinking that it was going to be a B-Side. Once it was recorded and mixed it became a favourite song of a lot of people from the label and in the band. Picking the track-list for this album was really easy, it just all fell into place. The only decision that we took a bit of time over was if we were going to put ‘Another Bed’ on the album, we did and now it's the second official single."

So where has this style come from? It seems to have been influenced by many things, though two stand out. Firstly, the influence of guitarist and chief songwriter Andy MacFarlane: "He's been going back to listen to old records as he doesn't like a lot of new music. He's always listened to the bands that have influenced his writing on this album but I think these bands have came to the forefront, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Can, PiL, Fad Gadget, Cabaret Voltaire, Wire, Bauhaus, Magazine, D.A.F. etc."

Secondly, there’s also the presence of one Andrew Weatherall. We get on to discussing how this collaboration came about. "We'd written the demos for the record and sent them to a few producers who we really liked and Andrew was one of the first people to get back to us. We met him in a hotel room one night when he was DJing in Glasgow and we talked about the record and what direction he thought we were taking with this record and it was exactly the same direction we were wanting to go in."

"So we arranged to go into the studio with Andrew down in London. We did a lot of pre production before we went down to London and when we got started in the studio on our own. Andrew came in on day two and said to us: ‘Look you’re doing/have done everything I would have told you to do’, and he said he didn't want to take the full production credit and said that we deserved to be credited with that. He was still very much involved and it was amazing to have him there as a guide. He's a really nice guy and his musical knowledge is through the roof, he's a very intelligent and well dressed man!"

Despite the new direction, lyrically this album remains as heavy and dark as the band have always been. It’s something that Graham feels is an intrinsic part of the band that comes out when they write and perform. "When it comes to writing and performing our songs we just focus in on the darker side of life. I think we all just find that side of life more interesting. I like darker films and music when it comes to looking for inspiration to write."

Thematically No One Can Ever Know seems to be about the details of relationships that have broken down. However, Graham’s lyrical skill means the songs are left open to interpretation – and he’s keeping stum about what it’s is all about:

"I decided that I wasn't going to talk too much about my lyrics with this album. I'd like to keep them close to my chest. What I will say my lyrics are still about where I live, people I know, my friends, my family and things that have happened to all of us. I'd say these lyrics are a lot more observational than the last album as I was basically talking about me being a dickhead on that album and the regrets I had at that time. This time it's other people who are the dickheads! I think the title explains it all to be honest "No One Can Ever Know" – and no one will!." He reassures us that the band’s onstage reputation belies their offstage one: "The rest of the time we're five friends who are enjoying travelling around visiting new places and drinking in new pubs. I can be a moody bastard some times though!"

Releasing an album that, already in February, seems likely to be on a lot of people’s end of year picks, 2012 promises to be a big one for the band. And the band have many exciting things lined up for the year: "Tour like fuck! Drink like fuck! Release an album, release a couple more singles. Then we have a special release planned for the second half of the year that I'm not allowed to talk about, but what I can say is that we're working with some of our favourite band/artists. Hopefully we also get asked to play some festivals this year."

He’s even looking forward to touring, despite notoriously being nervous on stage: "I still get very nervous but I'm getting more comfortable with every tour. I'm definitely not a natural front man as I never considered myself to be one and still don't really, I just sing our songs. I don't have much stage banter and when I do it's pretty shite. I just like to play our songs and let them do the talking if you know what I mean. I've caught the touring bug and I miss it when I'm at home for too long. I really think these new songs have improved the live set by a country mile and there's a lot more depth to our live show now."

With a new sound and a new tour I ask him what fans who started out with the band will think. It’s a journey he’s sure they will join them on: "I think people who like and come to see our band are amazing and are real music fans as they've sought out our band as we haven’t been thrown in their face or forced upon them." And he’s almost certainly right. So, see you down the front?


No One Can Ever Know by The Twilight Sad is out now on FatCat Records