"I tried to write from a place of strength that I aspire to."

By Madison Vain
Updated September 10, 2015 at 09:58 PM EDT
Credit: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

The Glasgow synth-pop trio became an indie It Band with their excellent 2013 debut, The Bones of What You Believe. Lauren Mayberry’s neon vocals along with Iain Cook and Martin Doherty’s musical acumen pushed them to the forefront of the electro-pop resurgence and a grueling world tour that just wrapped up last winter. After, they took six weeks off before reconvening in the studio and began putting together what eventually became Every Eye Open (out Sept. 25 via Glassnote Records). “I think we needed to sit by ourselves for a little bit,” Mayberry tells EW of the break in the back corner of a West Village Manhattan bar. “It gave me room to look back at experiences of the last few years.”

What happened, clearly, was heartbreak. But Every Eye Open is hardly a cry for the wounded. “It’s not our Jagged Little Pill or anything,” Mayberry continues, citing Alanis Morissette’s career-defining third album. “I tried to write from a place of strength that I aspire to, something that’s a bit more assertive than playing a victim and writing about it from a sadder angle.” The album is swollen with strength and borderline bravado, and Mayberry’s filigree vocal is a perfect vehicle.

In the studio it was just the three band members working together. They wrote, recorded, played, and produced everything on the record. “No one knows what we’re trying to do better than ourselves,” says guitarist Iain Cook. “Plus, if it isn’t a success, we’ll be the ones standing behind it saying, ‘Well, we f—ed up!'” Not a chance. In fact, the hooks are bigger and bolder, with dancey anthems that would sound at home on the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie.

So far, the group has shared “Leave A Trace” and “Never Ending Circles.” Thursday, BBC 1 debuted “Clearest Blue,” which houses the lyric that inspired the album’s title. “Taken out of its song context and made into the song title I guess we just wanted it to mean that the second album wasn’t made in a vacuum or made in a bubble the way the first one was,” Mayberry says. “Even if you want to be completely alone and start it from scratch, because you made the first album under a certain watchful eye.”

Get exclusive details about fall’s buzziest albums in Entertainment Weekly Issue #1379, on stands Aug. 27.