WELSH indie-rockers Pretty Vicious returned to Southampton and confirmed they’ll release their long-awaited debut album later this year.

After more than two years away, lead singer-guitarist Brad Griffiths, drummer Elliot Jones, bassist Jarvis Morgan and guitarist Tom McCarthy wowed The Joiners with an electrifying shock and awe show.

Are You Ready For Me, a track which had its first ever live performance at the St Mary Street venue in 2015, began a race through a raucous 12 song set.

“It’s been a long tour, so I may need some help singing this one” said Brad before striking up chords for Down My Way. He didn’t need to ask again.

The frenzy at the front reached another level for Cave Song, the breakthrough tune that first propelled them from the Red House pub at home in Merthyr to supporting Manic Street Preachers at Cardiff Castle.

A first album seemed imminent when The Daily Echo first met Pretty Vicious at The Joiners in November 2015, but record company wrangling beyond their control and a split with Virgin meant it’s taken longer. That’s been no bad thing according to Brad.

“In some ways, it feels like we’ve been working on our second album as we had to lay down tracks again that we’d recorded before. But I’m glad it’s turned out this way as we’re now sounding and playing better than ever.

“We were only 15 to 17 years old when it all started so the extra time has made all the difference to us as people as well as musicians” the frontman added.

Doing things on their terms this time is working for the band. New songs Force of Nature and Four Walls, which the front man said was about smashing up a venue, reveal some of the new sounds they’ve created at Monnow Studios, Monmouthshire.

The lads, still aged 21 or under, finished recording in December and say their producer Dan Austin is like a fifth member of the group.

“He’s one of the boys, another one of us” said Brad. “He gets our sound, doesn’t try to change us and can get the best out of our ideas. We can work with him for 10 days in a row and not get bored.”

The band split their visits to the studio to avoid cabin fever. “If you’re there for too long in one go, you can lose the vibe, start hearing things that aren’t there or mistakenly add effects that aren’t needed” said Tom.

“And the building was definitely haunted!” laughed Jarvis.

The first of four as yet unreleased new singles Move was in tonight’s set and that’s just the start according to Elliot. “There’s a lot of things we can’t tell you yet, but there will be an album this year and more live shows” says the drummer.

The group said they loved coming back to The Joiners in its 50th year. “It’s a cracking venue with a great sound system, we were really happy to find out it was on the tour, it always goes off when we play here” said Tom.

Earlier in the evening lively Northern Irish band Brand New Friend, whose debut album Seatbelts For Aeroplanes is out April 27, drew a big early crow. They even received a good luck message from fellow countryman and Saints captain Steven Davis after they invited him to the show on Twitter.

Fresh from supporting The Sherlocks at The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth singer Aaron Middleton, whose debut EP Dreams of Old Guitars is released May 5, completed an impressive triple bill.

New track These Four Walls by Pretty Vicious is available on the band’s website prettyvicious.com. Their debut album and new tour dates will be released later this year.

By Richard Derbyshire