May 26, Orkney Folk Festival; June 1, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

LAU are a band a fan of any stripe can be glad about. Personal preferences aside, the music made by vocalist/guitarist Kris Drever, keys-player Martin Green and fiddler Aidan O'Rourke since getting together in Leith in the mid-2000s is quite unlike anything else.

From their 2007 debut Lightweights and Gentlemen to recent LP Midnight and Closedown, released earlier this year, each is a record of the interaction of these singular musicians in a particular space and time.

What habitually earns them all those superlatives (eg “the UK's best live band” “leagues ahead of the crowd”) is the specific magic conjured when they play together in the studio or on stage.

Best known for his work with PJ Harvey, John Parish, who produced Midnight and Closedown at the band's favoured Castlesound Studio in East Lothian, put it in characteristically classy terms.

“Lau. Cool band. Don't sound like anybody else … in touch with their roots but not bound by them.”

“People want an elevator pitch, that 'if you like that, you might like this' kind of thing,” says Drever. “On the other hand, when you are making art, you like to think that you're a unique entity. It feels good to be unique in a world with so many billions of people.”

And while they're often referred to as a “trad supergroup”, don't be misled; Lau are not a band preoccupied with preserving tradition or unearthing ancient songs, however laudable that may be. While each musician is grounded in the folk world, Lau's aesthetic and attitude recalls the punkish defiance of improv bands and post-hardcore one-offs Shellac.

Though a world away from Shellac's abrasive, sarcastic fury, both threesomes have a disregard for conventional song structures, preferring textures, tones and asymmetry. Each also has a chemistry so strong, it's tangible; at gigs you could almost reach out and feel a spark or two scorching your skin.

Green, whose electronics have a new eloquence in Midnight and Closedown, says the trio is a powerful creative entity.

“Every time Lau return to the studio we are a different little unit,” he says. “Musically a three-piece band is wonderful thing. A triangle is a powerful shape, you can tilt it and turn it and any way up, whichever is its highest point will always be supported and grounded by two points beneath. And Lau have made much use of this power of three over the years.”

Taking its name from Seamus Heaney's poem The Shipping Forecast, lyricist Drever says his burr-voiced songs are about islands.

“Big islands and little islands and human islands,” say Drever, who now lives in Shetland.

O'Rourke and Green, based in Edinburgh and Midlothian respectively, joined him up north for the album's rehearsals.

Though O'Rourke is quoted as saying the band “wanted to make a Brexit album”, Midnight and Closedown is not a protest record. Its most overtly political lines open the second track, the intense, brooding She Put On Her Headphones.

“There's two sides to this story, both of them are lies,” Drever sings. “I just put on my headphones, turn off the light and close my eyes.”

Writing Riad, the album's flourishing, most traditional track while on holiday, O'Rourke said he was thinking about the perception of Scotland as a “haven within Brexit Britain”.

“I thought of the fallacy of believing we can remove ourselves from the problems that are right on our doorstep,” he says. “We are not immune. We must engage. In She Put On Her Headphones music becomes an escape, another haven. How much should we allow ourselves solace? How much should we force ourselves to confront?”