IN 2009, Doves released Kingdom Of Rust, considered by many as their creative peak, but then they went their separate ways, suddenly and without fanfare.

The Wilmslow band, who rose from the ashes of Britpop to pioneer a world-weary, introspective sound, were run down after years on the treadmill of recording and tours.

Twin brothers Jez and Andy Williams (on guitar and drums respectively) and singer-cum-bassist Jimi Goodwin needed some time apart.

"We never called it a day, it was just a long break," explains Andy, 50, over the phone, as Doves prepare to release their fifth album, The Universal Want.

"It was a tough record to make, Kingdom Of Rust.

"People were going through personal stuff and it had been solid recording and touring up to that point.

"Everybody was quite ready for a break but we never intended it to be nine years," he adds with a sharp laugh.

"It's crazy when I think about it. It was too long a time, but there we go. It's just one of those things."

Doves found their feet during the early 90s, post-Second Summer Of Love, performing as a ravey house music-influenced act called Sub Sub.

As schoolboys they had been inspired by regular trips to the hallowed dance floor of Manchester's Hacienda nightclub.

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They even reached number three in the charts with the single Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use).

But in 1996, the band's Ancoats studio burned down and they were faced with a decision: rebuild or start anew.

Be thankful they chose the second option and rcalibrated as Doves in 1998, releasing four albums of atmospheric, alternative Northwestern noir, culminating in Kingdom Of Rust.

That album was lauded as a perfect summing up of their two decades in music.

"There was never any big falling out or anything," recalls Andy.

"A lot of bands get to a point where they can't stand the sight of each other.

"I'm sure at the back of a tour bus after a long tour we took each other for granted. But we never had the falling out.

"I felt that when we regrouped everyone was really ready for it. We felt we had a lot of music in us.

"It wouldn't have happened if we didn't think we could make a good record together."

While on hiatus, the Williams twins continued to work together under the name Black Rivers.

They were drawn back to Goodwin by chance during recording sessions in a rented house in the Peak District.

"It was dead exciting," he admits gleefully.

"We started songwriting together in 2017 but we didn't tell anyone for a year or two.

"That way there was no pressure because it might not have worked out.

"Me and Jez were up in the Peak District working on a second Black Rivers album and Jimi was close by so we invited him over, just to hang out really.

"We played him some material and he really liked some of it.

"He asked to play bass on it. It was just quite organic.

"It was clear early on that the chemistry was still there. It felt very familiar. It was really exciting to start building the songs up.

"After three of four songs we knew we had an album in us."

The twice Mercury Prize-nominated band continued to work on songs between studios in the North West and the Midlands.

The album's title, The Universal Want, points towards a message of anti-consumerism.

"I'm as guilty as the next person. I always want the next thing," Andy admits.

"It's an eternal impulse that things are better elsewhere.

"Trying to acquire that is this continual cycle we seem to be stuck in.

"Getting older is trying to fight against that," he concludes drily.

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, Andy says, has imbued the album with extra meaning, as the British public are forced to weigh up their physical and mental needs at home.

"It's seems weirdly resonant now," he observes.

Time has changed Doves but not so much that they have lost their essence.

The holy trinity of guitar, bass and drums is still present, as is their brand of melancholic euphoria.

The song Carousels recalls hazily the seaside amusements of their youth, while the title track harks back to the heady days of acid house.

But the last decade has matured the Doves sound and new influences, such as the jazz-shuffle of Afrobeat, have crept into the mix.

Carousels even samples the late drummer Tony Allen.

"We feel it is important to keep moving on," Andy explains.

Referring to the sweeping first single from their debut album, he adds: "We have no desire to do The Cedar Room part two. It's about trying new stuff."

Doves have returned to the fold on their own terms.

With an established fanbase, they are better prepared to weather the pressures of the music industry.

"Our previous band, Sub Sub, was a bit of learning curve," Andy admits, harking back to their early days.

"We did sometimes try to meet expectations.

"We did take our eyes off the band and we were swayed.

"But we are in a lucky position with Doves.

"We have been lucky to make living out of this for so long.

"It's easier to not be swayed and put those commercial pressures aside now."

Doves played a comeback show at the Royal Albert Hall for The Teenage Cancer Trust in March last year, after being personally invited by organiser and Who frontman Roger Daltrey.

They wanted to do their old material justice and so steered clear of the new songs.

"It was pretty nerve-wracking - but amazing," he offers.

"The reception was just like 'wow'.

"It was a night none of us will forget. The crowd carried us through it.

"Personally, I won't lie. I was really nervous. There was a lot of expectation. But it was brilliant."

The Universal Want is out on September 11. Doves will tour the UK in 2021.