THERE aren't many rock bands who could give you a detailed description of their favourite country hike, at least to this journalist's knowledge. Then again, there aren't many rock bands like British Sea Power. The Brighton-based group have songs about an Antarctica ice shelf, Canvey Island and the great skua, a large seabird. BSP fans regularly bring foliage to gigs like hardcore football fans might bring oversized banners to matches.

A lot of BSP's appeal – other than their atypical lyrical matter – is, for want of a less vague term; heartiness. Yan Wilkinson's emotive vocal sits atop earthy instrumentation in a sound that often hits stirring heights – plenty of which can be found on new record Let The Dancers Inherit the Party.

Before we get into that, though, back to the promised Sussex walk. "If you get off at Falmer station you can walk to Lewes along the South Downs way," says guitarist Martin Noble. "It's about six or seven miles along the river and takes a few hours. You can have a few hours in the pub and get the train back."

Noble met Wilkinson in Reading while the two men were studying at university. While the theme of the natural world would go on to play a big part in BSP's music, the rural opportunity of Sussex wasn't a direct factor in the move South.

"There were a lot of venues closing in Reading and it felt like it wasn't going anywhere," says the guitarist. "We felt London was too much, but Yan and his brother Hamilton (the band's bassist) had recently started living in Lewes so we went down to Brighton. It's a nice combination of music venues to play, the sea, South downs and accessibility to London."

The promise of gig hotspots may have partly informed BSP's decision, but Noble and co witnessed the closure of a few Brighton venues first-hand. The band hosted a club night called Club Sea Power at, among other places, the Freebutt, which shut in 2010 after a row about noise. The Blind Tiger suffered the same fate in 2014.

"It's a shame that people move into flats knowing they are near to music venues," says Noble, reflecting on the public complaints that caused both venues' demise. "They're told what is around them when they move in."

The guitarist says "it feels like a different era" in Brighton now. "In general, though, it felt like a really good time [the mid-2000s] and we made some really good friends," he adds. BSP still record in Brighton Electric studios, where you meet see The Cure walking around the corridors.

It might seem like the band have been in hibernation since 2013's Machineries of Joy, but they've been busy exploring alternative avenues to the conventional album format. They soundtracked a few films and released Sea of Brass, reworking their back catalogue with the help of various orchestras.

"It's good to break up the cycle of tour, write, record, tour," says Noble. Was it a relief to step off the recording and promotional treadmill for a while? "No, I think we were itching to get back to it actually. You start to feel like you're not a band, you miss playing songs in front of audiences."

As Noble says, BSP have never been an overtly political band aside from the odd (usually veiled) reference. That changed with Let The Dancers Inherit the Party. The record's press release mentions "politicians perfecting the art of unabashed lying, of social media echo chambers...But we've ended up addressing this confusion in an invigorating way, rather than imprisoning the listener in melancholy."

How did the band manage to find light amid the gloom, even in their own minds? "When you're bombarded with so much information, a lot of which is fake news, it's sometimes good to just get it down on paper," says Noble, echoing the advice of anxiety counsellors everywhere. "We've never been a band to be defeated and wallow in things; we've always tried to approach it in a positive way."

The album's title comes from a poem by Ian Hamilton Finlay, in which a man "cowers away in a corner at a party overthinking things", as Noble says. "When he does that he feels very tired but when he dances for an hour he feels alive." It's a celebratory message to promote, but surely the band suffered from the same initial anxiety as the poem's protagonist? How do you contemplate global politics and social affairs without overthinking?

"There are times when I know he (Yan) struggles with lyrics for songs in that sense," replies Noble. "We get different versions weekly and we have to remind him that a certain lyric is really good. It can be difficult, though, being hit with information all the time while also going through personal things like looking after your family."

BSP are a band with an intellectual edge but accessible songcraft is never far from the agenda. They've been making rousing anthems for over 15 years and aren't going to stop now. Noble's last word on Let The Dancers Inherit the Party reveals as much.

"We wanted to have a load of bangers, basically."

Let the Dancers Inherit the Party is out next Friday