THREE years on from second studio album "Arc Light" and Kris Drever acknowledges that it has been "a wee while" between albums for much admired folk trio Lau.
Not that singer and guitarist Drever and bandmates fiddler Aidan O’Rourke and accordion player Mart Green have not been busy.
In the gap between "Arc Light" and newly released third album "Race The Loser", the trio have released EP collaborations with Scots singer Karine Polwart and Anglo-Turkish musician Adem.
Along with this, the band who have been named Best Group at the BBC Folk Awards three years running, have played to audiences all around the world, including building up a notable following in Japan, and combining forces with Cream bassist Jack Bruce closer to home at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.
However, if fans have had to wait a frustrating long time for the newest Lau offering, it is not necessarily down to other interests outside the band.
Drever, the son of former Wolfstone lead singer and songwriter Ivan, has a lengthy list of bands on his CV, including Fine Friday, Session A9, Kate Rusby’s touring band and his other trio with fiddler John McCusker and singer Roddy Woomble of Scottish indie-rockers Idlewild.
These days, though he reveals he has a second collaboration with Irish banjo player Eamonn Coyne set for release, Drever adds that he does not do much outside Lau other than his solo shows and albums.
Similarly though O’Rourke is much in demand as a musician, composer and arranger and has a side-project in the band KAN, the Argyll-born fiddler dropped out of the popular Blazin’ Fiddles to make Lau his main focus.
"Lau is what we refer to as ‘the mother band’," Drever said.
"The reason we put the band together is that we all have similar ideas. We all seem to be on the same page when it comes to music. When something is recorded, it always sounds like the way we envisaged it, which isn’t always the case with some bands.
"It’s a bit of a truism in music to say that three is a magic number because there are a lot of great three-pieces."
With Lau, each of its three members brings a different instrument and set of influences to the over-all mix and though Drever sees that diversity as one of the band’s overall strengths, the fact that all three — Orcadian Drever, O’Rourke and Englishman Green — all come from different musical traditions matters less and less.
"The way I play guitar with Lau or the way Aidan plays the fiddle or Martin the box we wouldn’t necessarily play with another group," he said.
"Lau has kind of become a musical language all its own. All the music we play is written by us. The only ties we have with traditional music is the instrumentation and our backgrounds, but we also have influences from jazz and even rock.
"To begin with, Aidan and Martin had maybe more of a jazz ethos than I did. I probably listen to more rock and roll than them — I started off playing in school bands, and teenage boys play rock and roll."
The combination of these elements into the evolving Lau sound can certainly be traced through the band’s recordings, Drever believes, right up to the latest release produced by REM and Sufjan Stevens collaborator Tucker Martine.
"The first album had quite a clean and acoustic sound. It was what we sounded like as an acoustic trio," he said.
"With the second album, we moved into electronics and it was a little bit trickier. This new album is a combination of both of them."
When Lau visit The Ironworks on Thursday, expect a good indication of how that combination sounds.
"It’s important, especially if you play instruments and that is one of the things you are known for, to be able to play live what you do on the record," Drever said.
"With a lot of pop groups, it’s just about the vocal so it doesn’t matter so much about being able to reproduce it live, whereas in our line it’s very important."
Because Lau does have such a unique sound, Drever says that playing with the band frees him up to do more traditional music without feeling he is missing out on other areas of musical life.
Even so, this should not suggest that his next solo album will be on strictly traditional lines.
"I’ve been playing a few solo shows and I’ve been playing them just with and electric guitar," he said.
"I’ve done two solo albums, but they are both of a kind. I’m very proud of them, but it might be time to look at something different, perhaps just guitar and vocal.
"If people like a certain record, they associate you with a certain sound and want you to make something similar, but if you do that you can end up running out of juice."
• Lau appear at The Ironworks, Academy Street, Inverness, on Thursday and at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, the following evening.