“IT’S quite weird now, seeing it described as an actual genre,” says Slowdive’s singer and guitarist Rachel Goswell, after a small expulsion of air which just might be a sigh. It took us a while to get around to the ‘S’ word, but here we are. Back in the nineties, Slowdive were the quintessential Shoegaze band. Woozy and dream-like, their ethereal vocals backed by a gauzy swoon of guitars, an aura of somewhat fey ennui and a diffident stage demeanour didn’t necessarily endear them to battle-hardened music scribes as the more exuberant Britpop hordes barrelled into view. Hence, ‘shoegazing’, a term of dismissive disdain.

Now, with the recent reformation not just of Slowdive but fellow travellers such as Ride and My Bloody Valentine greeted warmly, as well as endorsements from bands such as M83 and Deerhunter, the term is less loaded with negative connotations. “All these younger bands cite it, and so much has come out of that,” says Goswell. “I think if anyone had said 20 years ago, that it would be what it is today, we would have just laughed. Back then, lots of bands were kind of annoyed by it, because we didn’t see ourselves as being the same. There were similarities in some ways, but I think we were quite different from My Bloody Valentine, for example. Our records were verging on pop in comparison.”

Whichever way you choose to label the music they made, Slowdive were a fine and deceptively eclectic band, their sound a beautiful blur of possibilities. Formed by childhood friends Goswell and co-vocalist/chief songwriter Neil Halstead in Reading in 1989, they signed to Creation Records the following year, while they were all still in their teens. Following three albums which – Shoegaze be damned – roamed from twisted Sixties pop to Gothic ballads to ambient minimalism, Slowdive broke up in 1995 with no great drama.

The five members remained friends as they pursued individual projects. Goswell and Halstead formed the more folk-inflected Mojave 3, as well as releasing solo records. The line-up reunited for a series of acclaimed shows in 2014, and have spent the interim working on new material. In January came their first new song in 22 years, the propulsive Star Roving. A new album will be released later this year. “It’s been a slow and somewhat methodical process,” says Goswell. “Thank God it’s finished!” She maintains that the inter-band dynamic has remained more or less the same through it all, although “little bits have changed. Everyone has had different experiences over the past 20 years, and I guess you bring that into what we’re doing now.”

Nowadays, music has to find its place among life’s other complications. In 2010 Goswell gave birth to a son, Jesse, who has Charge syndrome, resulting in profound hearing and mobility issues. She and her partner moved to Exeter from London to ensure he has the best possible care. By necessity, much of the recording for the new record was done piecemeal. “We did a few weekends in various places, dotted around, and did a lot of jamming together, for want of a better word,” says Goswell. “Neil would take what we had done down to his studio in Newquay and he would mess around with it, change structures a little bit, then bring them back to us.”

“The turning point was when we decided to book Courtyard Studios in Oxfordshire, which is run by Chris Hufford, who engineered all our previous albums,” says drummer Simon Scott. “He’s a bit busy managing Radiohead these days, but he was very happy to let us use the studio. Neil would bring various things we’d recorded to Courtyard, and at that point, very quickly, it all seemed to connect.”

It's one thing reforming to revisit old glories; quite another to come up with new material which will be measured against them. The band are fully unaware of the distinction. “We didn’t want it to be awful!” says Scott. “But because we’d done so much gigging, much more than we had anticipated, and we had jammed and mucked around at soundchecks, it wasn’t weird doing the new songs, because we were really enjoying playing together. The only trepidation was, let’s be immense, and not lame.”

“The agreement between everybody was: if we love it, we put it out; and if it doesn’t work out, at least we had a go,” says Goswell. “Thankfully, we all loved it and got really excited by what we were doing.”

What does the new record sound like? They ‘um’ and ‘ah’ endearingly. “On the first track and the last track there’s some real sound sculpture stuff going on,” says Scott finally. “With our last album, Pygmalion, there were experimental ambient music influences. This record isn’t like that, it’s more like [second album] Souvlaki in a way. Technology has enabled us to…” Goswell laughs and interrupts: “Basically, they’ve got even more pedals!”

Back in the early 1990s Goswell was a bona fide indie pin-up. The mere mention of "Rachel Slowdive" would elicit heartfelt sighs among many a teenage boy with a stripy top and a floppy fringe. At the time, she says, she wasn’t particularly aware of being objectified by her fans or by the music press.

“When I was younger I didn’t really pay attention to that. There were quite a lot of females in bands around our age range – Cocteau Twins, Pixies, Lush, Elastica, Throwing Muses – and I didn’t feel it, or at least didn’t notice it. As I’ve got older I’ve noticed it more. Certainly, there’s still so much stuff based on how you look as a woman, and the press still writes about what you are wearing instead of what you’re doing musically – which is irritating, and doesn’t really happen to men. On the industry side, when you’re touring, it’s still very male dominated. I’ve met and worked with one female guitar tech in 25 years. I’ve met one female sound engineer. When will it ever be equal? Never, probably, but you’ll always have strong females making music who speak up and have an influence. For me as a teenager, it was Siouxsie Sioux who made me want to be a singer.”

There are a few loose ends to be tied up before Slowdive announce a release date and title for the new record, but it looks like being a summer baby, with a swathe of festival appearances and shows planned for later in 2017. Meantime, their first live outing of the year will be at Glasgow Art School later this month. Goswell promises “a few old number and a few new ones. We’re into week three of rehearsals, so hopefully it will be okay.”

“We plan on being pretty busy this year,” says Scott. “We want to start the next album fairly soon, too. We just want to crack on. We feel there’s at least one more record in us.”

“Phase two of the Stars Wars trilogy!” shouts Goswell. From outer soles to outer space; it’s been quite a journey.

Star Roving is out now on Dead Oceans. Slowdive play the Art School, Glasgow, on March 27