THE last time Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas played York Barbican, the Hampshire country twins were doing Cartwheels.

The show was in May 2017, when the sisters' album of that name was basking in reaching number one in the charts as part of the rise of "new wave country" in Britain, alongside The Shires and Catherine McGrath.

On February 8 they released album number three, Restless Minds, a weekend chart entry at number eight as they return to York Barbican on Monday on the second night of their 14-date tour.

"Time's flown by since we released Cartwheels in 2016," says Lizzy. "We actually started working on the new album a year and a half ago songs, recording it here, rather than Nashville this time, though we wrote it in Nashville, London and Hampshire."

Catherine and Lizzy, who grew up on a Hampshire farm, headed to the country capital of Nashville to make Cartwheels with Bobby Blazier and Chris Rodriguez, who have worked with Wynonna Judd and Shania Twain respectively. For Restless Minds, they settled on doing the recording sessions in London studios, choosing Martin Terefe and Joe Rubel as their producers.

"We'd worked with Martin on Cartwheels but Joe was brand new to us, which was really fun for us," says Lizzy. "Martin has grown with us, while Joe has been a fresh pair of ears. Joe was a recommendation to us, and it ended up being a great relationship."

After the country pop of Cartwheels and its predecessor, 2014's From Where We Stand, Restless Minds embraces broader influences and topical subjects too, but with gratitude for the sisters' Nashville learning curve.

"We're always wanting develop and grow, especially developing our sound," says Lizzy. "Nashville has had a massive part to play in that, as we've learnt so much in terms of songwriting and recording, and the way they write a song is amazing. It's like a factory; they have such a disciplined way of working, and that's taught us good habits."

At 24, the twins are tackling issues close to their hearts on Restless Minds, from observations on social media and the women’s movement, to mental health and what "the truth" means in 2019.

"We couldn’t help but address social media and the subconscious competition it creates," says Lizzy. "There’s a fake reality that everyone our age is falling for right now. Scroll down, see my page, look at my perfect life!"

Ward Thomas even set themselves a New Year’s Resolution challenge of taking time away from social media every Sunday, encouraging others to do likewise.

York Press:

Doubling up: twin sisters Lizzy and Catherine Ward Thomas

"After experiencing our own levels of anxiety through our constant use of social media and the addiction to scrolling, we drew on these feelings in some of our new songs and consequently feel that it's important to practise what we preach," Catherine said of the idea behind #NoScrollSunday.

"Sometimes we have felt time just slips by as we're mindlessly scrolling, when instead we could have picked up our guitar, we could have gone for a walk, we could have sat in that moment and come up with a song idea."

Lizzy takes up Catherine's thread. "Naturally, both being Millennials, growing up in this social media age, learning to be connected this way, we've discussed this subject, addressing issues from the point of view of those close to us: being in our mid-twenties and having a few early traumas and anxieties of adulthood," she says.

Restless Minds duly leapt out from one of the lyrics to be the album title. "We thought 'what a perfect phrase to round off the songs' and we decided it would be the perfect title to cover the whole theme of the record," says Lizzy.

The sisters' songwriting continues to be built around piano and guitar, "but we also wrote quite a lot with the producers, doing a lot of 'track writing', where we then write the melody and the lyrics on top of that," says Lizzy. "When it comes to the arrangements, we let the songs speak for themselves and have their space, with the two producers giving the record their own flavours too.

"We'll always have our country roots, and when we sing together we'll always sound 'country', and it's important to have those songs on the new album, but also to show that we can explore new things too," says Lizzy.

"What I love about country music is it gives you the freedom to move into other genres but with the country authenticity and storytelling retained."

While on the subject of authenticity, Ward Thomas are keen to ask "what does 'truth' mean in 2019?".

"To us, there's a whole load of fake things around because of social media; we all put filters on our lives, whether online or offline," says Lizzy. "First impressions are important to all of us, and with social media we show filtered versions of ourselves that aren't necessarily true, so social media can be a good thing or a bad thing, triggering mental health issues."

Being in the public eye now, "it really helps being together as sisters," says Lizzy. "You do have to develop a tougher skin. What's important is to strip away all the social media to be true to yourself."

Ward Thomas play York Barbican on February 25, 7.30pm. Tickets update: still available on 0844 854 2757, at or in person from the Barbican box office.