It is only as I depart the sanctuary of the double decker bus and begin to trudge through the bustling streets that the sky rumbles with disdain and begins to dampen my belongings. It appears that even the weather is aware of my imminent meeting with The Horrors, swathes of clouds flooded with inky black, suitably murky as I spy Faris Badwan and Tom Cowan lurking at a table, imposing figures through the grubby window pane, yet scarcely acknowledged by chattering diners.

If only they knew that the pair, along with their three fellow band mates, are a mere smattering of days away from unleashing Luminous, a record that doesn't so much as creak under the weight of its fine predecessor, Skying, but smash it to pieces and reassemble the resulting shards in gloriously haphazard fashion. Essentially, it's their strongest clutch of tracks yet, and that takes some doing.

"We kind of started at the first available opportunity," Faris recalls, flitting between pinning me to my chair with a lengthy, piercing stare and doodling intently on a scrap of paper. "We had a lot of interruptions because of festivals," Tom counters, "and we don't really feel like we got going. We'd been writing and jamming, just trying to get something down, but it was really hard. Live mode and studio mode are two very different things."

Despite live dates proving intrusive throughout the birthing of Luminous, the pair are far from downbeat about their gruelling schedule amongst baying festival crowds. "We write the songs to mainly be played live," Faris explains. "They begin in that way and we take them somewhere else." That statement will come as no surprise to anyone who has leant an ear to much of The Horrors' recorded output, with each LP encouraging the band to investigate deeper, far more complex cul-de-sacs and construct intricate arrangements to escape them, Luminous embracing the usual strides of beefy ambition, with every sonic stroke agonised over in meticulous detail. It is difficult to pinpoint another band that boasts such an intense, immersive experience with each album, yet flirts with mainstream success in such unexpected fashion.

"It gets to a point where I feel a little bit terrified about how we're going to do certain things on stage," Tom admits. "It's funny. In the songs, with something like 'Chasing Shadows' or other points of the album..." He pauses. "You start thinking, 'that's going to make such a great moment live'." Cowan and Badwan are particularly enthused when discussing the translation from record to stage, the passion clearly bubbling when recalling past performances. "I think with the last album, when we played live, we were quite slavishly into recreating all the aspects of it. We still want to do that, but I want to have the option to totally change it if I want to." "It's being able to react and interact," Faris chips in. "That's how we write, you know. The more we can allow that to happen, the better, really." "You get those really serendipitous moments," Tom grins, "where everything comes together."

While every album remains a product of the group, Luminous burns with a stronger collaborative element than ever before, prompting the band to draft in Paul Epworth for assistance with 'Falling Star', a track that existed instrumentally for some time, but could never be pinned down. Faris is complimentary of his assistance. "I think it's always good to take yourself out of your comfort zone and he's got a really great ear with melody. I'd like to work with him again, maybe." The talk of outsiders being involved provokes Cowan to embrace the notion further. "It's funny now, not having had a producer for two albums, in a conventional sense at least, the idea of a producer seems quite exciting. If we got the right person, it could be amazing. It's definitely something we're willing to try again in the future."

After its stuttering conception and distinctly heavier sound, you would expect Luminous to bristle with a wealth of angst-ridden lyrical themes. Faris refuses to be drawn, remaining notoriously coy. "I think it's worse to be told by the band what people should be hearing. I'll often write a specific story and take away the details. I think that sometimes the lyrics run against the feeling of the song and I like that."

Of course, the finished record that we hear today could have vastly differed, the internet awash with rumoured release dates as early as last year. While the doom-mongers circled, Badwan and Cowan reflect on the postponement with positivity. "It got to a point where it made sense from a management point of view, for the record label, but we got there and we wanted more time," Tom confesses, glancing at Faris as he ceases his scribbling and leans forward in his chair, another understated declaration pleading to tumble from his lips that typically sums up The Horrors' ambitious drive with modest brutality. "We felt excited about what to do next. We had a body of songs, we could have put them out, but we really felt that these things are cool, let's expand on them." We should be grateful that they did.

Luminous is out now on via XL. Stream it here.