SNOW Patrol swap the wilderness for Wildness as they return this spring with their first album in seven years.

Wildness will be released by Gary Lightbody's band on May 25 on Polydor Records with a track listing of Life On Earth; Don’t Give In; Heal Me; Empress; A Dark Switch; What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?; A Youth Written In Fire; Soon; Wild Horses and Life And Death.

The album, Snow Patrol's first studio set since 2011's Fallen Empires, finds the Northern Irish and Scottish combo "searching for clarity, connection and meaning, while staying true to the melodic songwriting prowess that brought them to prominence, tapping into something raw and primitive", as Lightbody explains.

"There are many types of wildness, but I think it can be distilled into two: the wildness of the modern age, all it’s confusion, illogic (sic) and alienation, and a more ancient wildness. Something primal, alive and beautiful that speaks to our true connectivity, our passion, our love, our communion with nature and each other," he says. "This is the kind of wildness the album is centred around. The loss of it. Trying to reconnect with it. To remember it."

After Snow Patrol's Fallen Empires tour ended in 2012, Lightbody continued his work with his Tired Pony side project, with members of Belle And Sebastian, R.E.M, Reindeer Section and Fresh Young Fellows, and moved to Los Angeles to write songs for movies, such as This Is How You Walk On for last year's Gifted, as well as high-profile co-writes with Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Biffy Clyro and One Direction.

Taking this extended break from Snow Patrol proved to be a source of inspiration, and writing songs that were not pulled directly from his own psyche helped heal what Lightbody reckoned was not so much writer’s block as life block.

York Press:

The cover artwork for Snow Patrol's new album, released in May

From his search for clarity and connection, the songs on Wildness were eventually written and refined. “I think it’s the first record I’ve ever written that I haven’t just asked a bunch of questions," he says. "I actually tried to figure out why I was unhappy, why I feel out of place, why I’m afraid. There’s nothing really to protect myself for; it’s all in the album. I want to remember."

This impulse was inspired partially by Lightbody’s father, who is suffering from dementia. "I think the album is defined by memory in a lot of ways, including my father’s loss of memory," says Lightbody.

Produced once more by Jacknife Lee, Snow Patrol’s longtime producer and collaborator, the stand-out tracks include Heal Me, a song reminiscent of an ancient hymn. "Finally, after way too many years of smashing my body to bits with booze, I met someone who helped me find my way back to health and clarity," says Lightbody. "This song is about her, that journey and is dedicated to her."

The album-closing Life And Death is a rumination on love and forgiveness, mostly self-forgiveness for Lightbody, demonstrating that perhaps everyone ought to take this long between albums to reflect long and hard before they write.

"Seamus Heaney, my favourite poet of all time, said at 71 that he was only discovering what some of his poetry means, and this is coming from a Nobel Prize-winning poet. It’s a great testament to inspiration," says the 41-year-old Lightbody.

"Sometimes it takes you five years to write the thing. Like now. And you know for sure when you finish an album like that, where you’ve poured over every detail and put every atom of yourself into it, everything makes sense and I bet you I’m never not proud of this record."