The Magic Numbers are one of those bands who seem to stroll casually back onto the scene just when you're wondering if they have hung up their gigging shoes for ever.
It's been three years since they were in this neck of the woods with a new album to share, and I was beginning to miss the lush melodies, heart-tugging hooks and exquisite harmonies of their timeless pop sound.
The good news is that they will soon be on their way to the Westcountry to play two low-key acoustic shows airing tracks they've been recording over the past few months for their fourth studio album. The tour comes to Exeter Phoenix on Friday, September 6.
For the uninitiated, the Magic Numbers are brothers and sisters Romeo and Michele Stodart, and Angela and Sean Gannon, who met as neighbours in west London. They've been making their mark since emerging slowly from the suburb of Hanwell in 2002 armed with an ever expanding bag full of thoughtful, touching and ultimately uplifting songs.
They built a grassroots cult following among music lovers and musicians loved them too.
The band shot to media attention after selling out London's Kentish Town Forum solely on the strength of their loyal fan-base, before the release of their eponymous Mercury Music Prize nominated 2005 debut album on the Heavenly label. It, in turn, spawned chart singles Forever Lost, Love Me Like You and Love's A Game and the Magic Numbers had won their place on the mainstream radar, while continuing to tread their own low-key, laid-back path.
Chief songwriter, guitarist and singer Romeo has a good excuse for stepping out of the limelight for a little while – he has become a father for the first time.
Seventeen months ago his bouncing baby boy came into his world and tipped it upside down.
"It was a mind-blowing experience and I just love every second," says Romeo, who has carried on the Stodart tradition by giving the baby his own name.
"It spun me out, but I am becoming very professional at last. I was so used to just writing at any moment I wanted and I have had to learn to become much more disciplined about it.
"My son's name is Romeo Jackson, actually – he can choose to be whichever he wants when he's older. He's going to be a rock and roll kid.
"My sister Michelle brings her little girl to all the festivals and she loves seeing her mum on stage."
Most of the new record – they're still fighting over a title – was actually written before Romeo senior even knew he was going to be a dad.
"That was interesting because when it came to recording them I was in a totally different mindset, so we moved some things around a bit," he says. Evidence so far is of a noise that is bigger, stronger, more grown up, but equally more gloriously poppy.
"We always try to approach every new release as if it's our first – always with the same level of drive and excitement," adds Romeo, who isn't afraid to step away for a while.
"Bowie came back with a record this year and I got absolutely obsessed again; I'm not putting us in the same bracket, but songs have an important part in people's lives. I don't want ours to be throwaway – I want them to have some importance to people. This new album has some of the best songs I've ever written, so I'm really eager for people to hear it.
"Halfway through touring the Runaway, I fell in love with the guitar again. That album really was piano based, so this is a lot bigger sounding but not in a bombastic, silly way.
"It's an intense period for us, making a record – we push ourselves to create something different and exciting with every album."
Tickets for the gig cost £15. Call 01392 667080 or visit www.exeterphoenix.org.uk