Sunderland quartet The Futureheads are releasing a new album before celebrating 15 years as a band with a late-summer gig in their home town.

HAVING first emerged at the start of the Noughties amidst a burgeoning swarm of guitar bands, The Futureheads, with their proud regional accents and spiky, playful sensibilities, stuck out from the off. Over the following decade, the Sunderland quartet – Barry Hyde, Ross Millard, David 'Jaff' Craig and Dave Hyde – amassed five critically-acclaimed albums, headlined countless tours and earned an NME Single of the Year accolade for their iconic cover of Kate Bush's Hounds of Love.

The band are about to release Powers, their sixth studio album, and are going on a winter tour of the UK to celebrate their 15th year. Recorded and self-produced at Newcastle's First Avenue Studio, Powers looks “at the balance of power in a personal, political and relational sense”.

Their aim is one of forward motion, not nostalgia, and although the quartet could probably rely on the successes of old to push them through the next couple of festival seasons, that isn't – and hasn't ever – been the point. “Obviously it’s an absolute privilege to come back and still have fans and that’s something to cherish,” says Millard, “but I also think we’ve got a bit of a job to do about letting people know that there’s more to this band than you might have thought.”

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It's a risky statement, but one that's confirmed immediately once you press play. Across the album, the band push further, melodically and lyrically, than ever before. This is a band putting everything out there and driving it to the wire. “I love the thing Bowie said about how an artist should be slightly out of their depth because that's when you get the good stuff,” says Hyde. “Or as David Lynch says, 'If you want to catch the big fish, you've got to go deep.'”

The frantic rattle of Headcase, and its emotional flipside, Animus – one rooted in mania, the other depression - find the singer dredging down to the problems that put a stopper on the band in the first place.

“My main thing was about accepting how my mind works and then trying to love that. The danger of mental illness is becoming trapped in something like depression; you can't stay manic for too long, you end up sectioned or probably dead because you become so uncaring about your own safety,” he explains. “I'm not a victim of my own mind anymore; I take responsibility for my mind and my actions, and those two songs speak to that.”

Conversely, the elegiac '7 Hours, 4 Minutes' is a love song to his partner and young daughter that's more literal and sentimental than anything they've ever penned: “We had a home birth, she had a paracetamol and that was it. At midnight her waters broke, and then Nico my daughter came at four minutes past seven. That song's a little monument to my first born.”

The album's propulsive, scattershot lead single Jekyll comes laden with a self-professed “monstrous riff for monstrous, preposterous times”, but it's perhaps the stream-of-consciousness, spoken word diatribe of Across the Border that lands the biggest hammer-blow in terms of unapologetic, outraged social commentary.

“As a band, we were always interested in personal politics and behaviour, but we never spoke about the state of the nation or big picture politics,” says Millard. “But in the meantime the world’s changed so much and there are things to really kick against. We live in a region that’s somehow or other been tagged as the poster boy for Brexit, and the misinformation and aggression that this referendum has brought out in people has become a really terrifying thing that I haven’t seen in my lifetime. It's a defining moment in British politics that’s impossible to ignore if you’re making art.”

Elsewhere across the record, the music veers from the wonky stomp of Listen Little Man – named after a book by controversial therapist Wilhelm Reich – to the hedonistic white flag of Good Night Out, via countless other, typically atypical topics. Cumulatively, it's a record that kicks harder and more intensely than you might have predicted. “The record we’ve made is a little off kilter and maybe a little more out of step than you might expect from four lads in their 30s. I think it might surprise people,” smiles Millard.

Powers is a record that sounds invigorated, with something important to say and an idiosyncratic, exciting way of saying it, made by four people here for all the right reasons. “There's power and sophistication and simplicity, and it's bloody hard to play, which I think will keep the shows interesting because we're on the edge of our abilities with this,” grins Hyde. “It's musical audacity: that's what this album's about.”

The Futureheads, who all still live in Sunderland, will be coming home when they play the Bonded Warehouse on September 4, before a Northumbria University date in Newcastle on December 13.

"We are extremely excited to be launching our sixth album in our home town this summer,” says Hyde. “We are in love with this album and can't wait to release our precious creations into the big wide world. We have been loving playing a small selection of the new tracks since hitting the road again and look forward to getting stuck in to the album at large and wrestling with some of our most adventurous and challenging material to date. Home town shows are always really special and this one is set to be superb!”

• Powers is being released on August 30.

• Bonded Warehouse, Sunderland, September 4; Leeds Beckett University, December 8; Northumbria University, Newcastle, December 13.