When one considers the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints, "rock & roll" is probably quite low on the word association board.

Sure, you've got The Killers, but from there you're left with The Osmonds - who admittedly might look quite punk when compared with, say, Mitt Romney - and Disney crooner Nathan Pacheco.

What you certainly don't associate the Church with is openly-LGBTQ, all-female indie pop-rock.

The Aces - guitarist Katie Henderson, bassist McKenna Petty, and sisters Alisa Ramirez (drums) and Cristal Ramirez (lead vocals and guitars) - grew up in the town of Provo, Utah, where over 90% of residents are Christian and 88.7% of those are Mormons.

Three of the quartet are now ex-Mormon and openly queer with McKenna, the only straight member, stepping away from the church in recent years.

The Church preaches chastity, that same-sex relations are a sin, and that God does not approve of same-sex marriage.

That upbringing is something the group decided to address directly on new album I've Loved You For So Long, a deeply personal record which deals with themes of mental health, homophobia, racism and more.

On standout track 'Suburban Blues', Cristal sings: "everything that I love/I'm told I shouldn't touch/'cos good girls love Jesus/not that girl from Phoenix".

Reflecting on growing up in a Mormon community she says: "It’s very conservative.

The Herald: The AcesThe Aces (Image: Adam Alonzo)

“It was really difficult, the religion we grew up in was really intense and the culture is very much based on your community.

“I think anyone who grows up really religious, and grows up around a lot of people who are really religious, you all think the same way and you all follow life in the same way: you grow up, you get married, you have kids, you’re in this religion and you do what you do.

“So as kids it was terrifying to be queer, to feel like you didn’t fit into that or didn’t have those desires to live that life.

“You had so much to lose - you had your whole community to lose.

"A lot of kids who come out to their families get completely exiled from their communities, exiled from their families and completely disowned.

“Thank God we didn’t have a family like that, we were lucky enough to have parents who were loving and supportive – even if there was a journey to get there.

“But it was terrifying. The song ‘Younger’ on the record talks about wishing you were anything but yourself, wishing that you were somewhere else, or older. Laying in your bed in tears until the morning, and that’s a very real reflective experience of my youth and I know of the girls’ youth, of growing up in a community like that and how terrifying it was.

“I think our music was really what saved us and got us out of that space where we didn’t feel we could be ourselves and really gave us a reason to get up in the morning and feel important.

“I think the band gave us that sense, it was our own little world we could escape into.

“The Aces is so purely who I am at this point but when I was a teenager I was hiding a lot of who I was.

“So I was almost stepping into The Aces to play this character, this version of myself, that I so desperately wanted to be.

“Even though I wasn’t out and even though I wasn’t fully speaking about these things, it was an energy I got to step into as a frontperson.

The Herald: Julian BurgenoJulian Burgeno (Image: Julian Burgeno)

“When I’m on stage and in front of people, the stuff I haven’t figured out doesn’t matter because I’m larger than life right now, I’m in command of the room. It's going, ‘no, for this hour I’m the best version of myself and everyone loves me and loves what I’m doing’."

Having released their debut When My Heart Felt Volcanic to critical acclaim in 2016, the group's plans for follow-up Under My Influence were thrown into turmoil by the pandemic.

Cut off from the world and unable to tour, they decided to make their most personal album yet.

Cristal says: "It was really f*****g hard, I think it was hard for every person but especially for an artist because the biggest part of our business is getting to play shows and tour.

“To have that taken away was really terrifying, not only financially but emotionally.

"I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a solo artist, I feel like that would have been even more terrifying because we all really leaned on each other within the walls of our band.

"We had never dove in to certain facets of our identity, whether that was our take on how we grew up religiously; what it was like to be queer in the midst of all that; what it was like to be from a small, suburban town that didn’t see being in a band as a real career; being women – there’s so much wrapped up in our identity as people that I think maybe our fans didn’t quite know or we hadn’t felt comfortable really expressing yet.

"It felt like as we started doing that, like talking about my panic attacks on ‘Always Get This Way’, we started to trace back to see where that anxiety was coming from.

“Then a song like ‘Girls Make Me Wanna Die’ came out of that, about being a closeted teenager, not being able to be myself or express myself, feeling so much shame and fear around my identity and how terrifying that was.

“The whole record just poured itself out of us, it’s like it was just ready to be told and we didn’t necessarily make a decision to do it – it just kind of happened."

They'll partner with Sound Mind, a charity which looks to improve mental health outcomes, a link-up which "makes so much sense" given the themes on the record.

Cristal says: "The record really explains where we grew up, how it affected our mental health, the struggles of what it was like to grow up that way and how that’s affecting us today.

“I think a lot of young queer kids really understand this record. Young people in general, and people in general, but I think being queer adds an extra element where you really feel this record and what it’s like to be closeted and scared of your future.

"We really hope people come along to the tour and regardless of what’s going on there’s this sense of community, resources and hope for people when they’re in this space.

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“That’s what this record did for us and what this band’s done for each other. We just aim to recreate that for other people who get to come into our space.”

The group will play at Glasgow SWG3 on August 27, and cannot wait to get back in front of a Scottish crowd.

Bassist McKenna says: "We love Scotland, the crowds there are always our favourite and the city is so cool too.

“We had such a good time the last time we were there and we’re so excited to come back, I feel like Scottish crowds are always the loudest.”

Katie concurs: "The energy is unmatched, I’d say Glasgow and Dublin are my favourite for sure.”

For a band born and raised in suburban Utah, one imagines those particular cities might present something of an accent barrier...

"I’m going to be honest, it’s harder to understand you guys!” Cristal says as the others nod their assent.

"Last time we were in this really cute restaurant doing an interview somewhere in Glasgow and I felt so bad because I kept going, ‘I’m so sorry can you say that just a little bit slower because I do NOT know what you just said’.

“Luckily she was such an angel about it, but you guys are definitely harder understand.”

Katie chips in: "But it's one of my favourite accents!" and the singer concurs "it's a great accent".

It's probably not the hardest thing they've had to figure out.

The Aces will play SWG3 in Glasgow on Sunday, August 27. New album I've Loved You For So Long is out now.