BORN amid uncertain and troubled times, Band of Skulls’ gritty fifth album represents the group’s most musically ambitious set of recordings to date.

A decade on from their debut, the Southampton indie outfit’s classic rock has evolved to another level, after hooking up with Richard X on production duties.

The dance maestro co-wrote several songs on the group’s latest album, Love is All You Love, with the infectious pop hooks of the title track confirming they’ve embraced an even broader range of influences.

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To date, they’ve built a solid fanbase around the world, gaining chart recognition and a strong reputation for their gutsy live performances.

However, as founder member Emma Richardson explains, while it has now been three years since they were last in the studio, they feel in a rich creative vein preparing for their latest set of UK dates.

“We’re really happy with the new album – it was exciting to be recording with Richard X, who has come from a very different background from ours within the dance and pop world.

“We just wanted to challenge ourselves making an album combining our harder rock music with a more electronic sound,” says the bassist, who admits it has been a period of adjustment for her and guitarist Russell Marsden since the departure of original drummer Matt Hayward.

But with new recruit Julian Dorio firmly in place, it seems there is a renewed sense of energy and urgency within their ranks.

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As Richardson explains, the upbeat tone of the new record offers a direct challenge to a precarious world wracked by war, civil unrest and inequality.

This is reflected with their latest single, Cool Your Battles, which features an evocative video from director, Nate Camponi, setting the song within a series of struggles being broken up by riot police.

“We just felt that the song summed up the album so well – it’s quite a positive one after having been through the challenge of a line-up change, we wanted to be upbeat. There are so many things that are happening in the world in terms of wars and other events, that we felt inspired to write about that – Cool Your Battles is both tough and tender,” adds Richardson, who explains the video was one of a trilogy shot for the album, which she says particularly stood out for the strength of its visual storytelling.

According to the bassist, another key factor in the album has been its split recording, which saw the band decamp briefly to Nashville for some key sessions.

While the home of country music may not seem the most automatic choice for a British indie band to be hanging out in, the heritage of the city appears to have worked its magic upon them.

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“Going out to Nashville was quite an experience – the place we were recording at, Smoakstack Studios, had a beautiful room and we had access to a lot of vintage gear as we wanted to keep the live feel of our music that is very much part of us. We didn’t have long there, but it was really worth it, especially given the musical history there,” adds the bassist of their whirlwind experiences in the US.

Those sessions were certainly a long way from her roots in Southampton, where she recalls her original inspiration came from her music-loving parents. Their love of everyone from the Rolling Stones through to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan provided an initial spark and drive to make it in a band.

While it may not have been entirely plain sailing (including changing their name from originally being known as Fleeing New York), it’s an experience she wouldn’t wish to trade for anything.

“I actually studied painting rather than music in London, before coming back to Southampton with my music, so joining the band was the first time I’d done something like that and we got on well from the start.

“Being a woman in a rock band shouldn’t be seen as something that’s especially unique, but if it’s inspiring to others and makes people want to get into music, then all the better,” adds Richardson, who says the British scene is presently in a particularly strong position.

As for her own creative outlets, she explains she has continued her love of painting that has extended into crafting the artwork for their latest album.

Clearly, she retains a passion for hitting the road, and reveals that the band’s latest tour will be offering a showcase for their brand new material, as well as a healthy dose of songs from the band’s now extensive back catalogue.

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“We love touring and it’s great to be starting these dates in Southampton – the city hall is an amazing building. This is our 10th anniversary of our first album coming out, which seems absolutely amazing to us that we’ve been able to carry on doing what we do.

“We want to keep getting better as a band, experimenting and doing new things and we’re very grateful to be in this position. We feel like we’ve got a lot more records to make and the next may be completely different again, but that’s what’s really exciting about it all,” adds the bassist, as they hit the road for what should prove another especially memorable set of shows.

Band of Skulls will play St Luke’s on April 18.