AFTER two decades of Reef playing Fibbers, "they just get better and better", reckons Tim Hornsby, who welcomes the West Country rockers to his York live music bar on November 16.

"Since the arrival of Jesse Wood on guitar in April 2014, Reef are back stronger than ever, and with new album Revelation, the boys are soaring," he says. "With legendary Los Angeles producer George Drakoulias on board, Reef are simultaneously recapturing and updating the sound of their classic, multi million-selling number one album Glow."

This year's Revelation is Reef's first studio set since Getaway in 2000. "It's the album I'm most happy with," says lead singer Gary Stringer. "Yeah, I’m proud of it. I’m stoked about it. Really had a good go with this record, really tried to make the best record we could. Is it the best record we’ve done? I don’t know, I haven’t really listened to the first four, to be honest!"

What did Jesse Wood bring to his first Reef recordings? "Definitely his writing. Jesse’s brought a whole new bunch of energy to the band in regard of, when you’ve been playing with people for a long time, you might know yourself, you build up a relationship, don’t you?" says Stringer.

"You fall into the roles of how you should be, like maybe with your mum and dad. You act a certain way, you’ve always acted that way, kind of always will, and that’s cool, But when one guy leaves and another guy joins, it’s new blood.

"You can remould yourself, you can be different. You don’t have to be the same. So, yeah, he’s brought in a new dynamic, and a new energy, which is fantastic. It’s really helped us, changing the blood has made all the difference with regard to writing. It just means you can start again really."

American singer Sheryl Crow guests on the lead single My Sweet Love. "It was George’s idea to have her on the album," reveals Stringer. "I had already sung My Sweet Love out in Ireland, and he suggested that maybe this could be a song that was good for a duet, have another voice.

"George is usually right, so I said, 'Yup! No problem'. He said, 'I’m going to make a phone call', and he rang Sheryl Crow, like only George can, and she said yeah. She said, 'Send me the song'. So George sent her the song, she loved it, and sung it within two weeks.

"I was in my house in Somerset by then; we could come home and George was in New York and Sheryl was in Nashville, so we were all on Skype or whatever, and you could listen on headphones. Yeah, she nailed it."

Reef are forever associated with Place Your Hands, their signature song. "You know it’s got its own Twitter page, right?" says Stringer. "You can go on there, @placeyourhands, and see how many it’s sold each week. Yeah, it’s daft, but it’s brilliant as well. It sold somewhere between 900, 1,000, maybe 700, 1,500 some weeks. It’s crazy that a song that you wrote is still selling roughly 1,000 records a week. It goes all over the world; it’s that one song! I love it mate. I’m really proud of it. "

Whereas some bands grow to loathe their most popular song, Stringer says: "I don’t even understand that. Maybe some people are bit more uptight about all that sort of stuff, but for me, I love listening to it. Not many weeks go by where I don’t get a story, either through the internet or in the pub or bumping into someone, 'Oh, I was in Adelaide and I heard Place Your Hands at this bar at 3am, and the whole place went up' or 'I was in Abu Dhabi in a restaurant and it come on'. It’s wicked! It’s the way it connects to people, man. Weddings, funerals, parties. Weekend, morning, evening."

Looking forward to next Friday's return to York, Stringer says: "York we’ve definitely played a couple of times over the past five years, up at Fibbers [the last time was in 2016]. Beautiful, beautiful city, really enjoy visiting, and the shows are always sold out and gone off. Boom. It’s fantastic, I can’t wait."

After making their first album in 18 years, the revitalised Reef and Stringer are in a good place in a year when they have played the Britrock Must Be Destroyed Tour with The Wildhearts and Terrorvision, headlined the Hammersmith Apollo and toured Australia and Japan. "I’m really enjoying myself at the moment," he says. "Really excited by the music and it’s really, really cool. I want to keep going and keep writing; that’s the main thing, to be creative.

"I mean I was working, but with other things. So, yeah, seven years off, then we had Live Nation come in and offer us [shows], so we went and did them, and it sold out. It all kind of led to the festivals, and then we thought we should make a record really. A lot of things have happened in that time, but it won’t be another 18 years [before another album]."

Reef play Fibbers, York, on November 16, supported by Broken Witt Rebels; doors open at 7pm. Box office:

Charles Hutchinson