THERE’S something effortlessly satisfying about This Is My Kingdom Now, Justin Currie’s fourth album – for the listener, at least. Melodic and catchy, with his characteristic lyrical mix of wit and depth, it’s likely the Del Amitri frontman’s best solo offering yet. Which isn’t to say it’s particularly easy or light. Even within its poppiest tracks, such as the chiming Dead Sea and the recent single Failing To See, there’s an ambivalence about romantic love that’s almost nihilistic – or coolly realistic, depending on your point of view.

But it’s elsewhere, on the title track – a crisp, classy piece of moody alt rock which recalls Doves’ Kingdom Of Rust, opener My Name Is God and the perturbing Two People – that this album properly unsettles the soul. Currie sings these songs about judgment, good and evil, omnipotence, existence with such authority you could begin to wonder who or what exactly he’s channeling.

“Well, search me what’s going on there,” says Currie. “Mark Freegard, the guy that helped me make the record, started noticing those themes as we went along, and he was like: ‘this is all a bit weird’. But those songs are all from quite different places. My Name Is God is sung by God, and Two People is sung by a psychopath as far as I can tell. This Is My Kingdom is about a very specific situation. Often you find this with records, you don’t realise you’ve been using quite similar imagery or thematic phrases and then you’re like ‘f**k!’ But it’s best not to panic about these things, it’s best to just go with the flow.”

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Perhaps he’s right not to analyze lyrics such as Two People’s “is it me who hides behind the door/holding out a hammer like a rose?” And maybe meaning depends on the audience. As Currie sings on closer My Soul Is Stolen: “Whoever’s singing isn’t me/because I’m a prisoner of all who you listeners might be.”

“I’ve always avoided thinking about how songwriting happens,” he says. “I don’t really know how to write songs, I think most people don’t. I don’t sit down and try and write. I just wait for something to lead me like some kind of automaton to a guitar or a piano. I’m superstitious enough to not want to know what’s happening either.

“I’ve never been one of those people whom I admire who go into an office every day at 10 o’clock and write a song,” Currie continues. “I think Nick Cave does that, and a lot of prolific writers must do something like that to have the output they have. But I just don’t understand that at all. That’s not what led to me in the first place. It’s something to do with ... without sounding pretentious, it’s something to do with self-expression. If you’ve got nothing to express, then don’t write. That would be my position on it.”

This Is My Kingdom Now is the follow-up to 2013’s Lower Reaches, a scuffed, soulful album recorded in Texas with Mike McCarthy, a producer known for his work with the likes of Lone Star state stalwarts Spoon and ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. Unlike that record, Currie says, This Is My Kingdom Now was neither “purpose-written” nor “properly produced” – the latter intended as no slight towards Freegard, the engineer-producer whose history with Currie goes way back to Del Amitri’s classic 1989 LP Waking Hours.

“Hopefully it’s okay,” he says of the album. “We vaguely know how to make records me and Mark but neither of us would claim to have set about this as ‘a producer’. There was no over-arching idea about how it was going to sound. That’s why there’s not a big producer credit on it or anything like that. I would never credit myself. I mean, if you’re the writer and the singer, you’re obviously going to be involved in the production, you’re not just going to sit in the back and go: ‘tell me what to do’. Mark and I discussed individual songs a lot and where they were going but we didn’t sit down with a manifesto, which can be an element of what production is about.”

There was initially only a practical intent to This Is My Kingdom Now – to make it as simply as possible.

“Initially the plan was to spend no money and to do it all with just me and the piano, and maybe the odd overdub,” he says. “So I started off doing that a couple of years ago in my house. I was about three weeks in and I was going great guns, and then about three building sites started up at the same time. They were doing up student flats, completely renovating the building, right outside my house. It just became intolerable and I just couldn’t work during the day. I couldn’t work at night either because I share my house with somebody. So I just put a break on it. And when I eventually went back to it, I was so lost. I was like: ‘This is so bizarre, who’s going to listen to this morose ding-donging on the piano with some guy wailing in the background?’ So I was like: ‘Mark, can you help me?’ So that’s when I got Mark in. We’ve worked together many times and I know I’m going to get a serviceable record out of him, and I know it’s going to be a really enjoyable experience as well.”

Currie is looking forward to this UK tour with his band The Pallbearers. It’s the longest set of dates since Del Amitri’s live comeback in 2014, a tour which included playing to 8000 at Glasgow’s Hydro.

“It’s all about who you surround yourself with and I’m with guys who are all experienced at sitting in a van, and you know, reading the paper,” he says of guitarist Stuart Nisbet, bassist Nick Clark and drummer Jim McDermott. “It’s all about knowing how to kill time well.”

He’s well practised enough. It’s almost 35 years since Currie, then a pupil at Glasgow’s Jordanhill School, stuck an ad in a local music shop asking for people who could play instruments to contact him.

“It’s about that old Michael Stipe line – when you’re on tour you’re constantly in that fight or flight mode,” he says. “You know you’ve got a public performance later that day. You can sort of relax, but not really. You’re in a state of suspended animation that whole day until you get out on that stage. Then there’s that huge sort of relief at the end of it and that’s when it’s fun and everyone’s having a laugh – unless it’s been a terrible gig, of course.”

Sat, O2 ABC, Glasgow, 7pm, £25.85. Tickets: bit.ly/JustinCurrieABC
Sun, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 7pm, £25.31. Tickets: bit.ly/JustinCurrieQueens

This Is My Kingdom Now is out now on Endless Shipwreck

www.justincurrie.com