NME.COM can reveal the new material is in full swing, and apparently sounds "excellent"...

BETA BAND are now halfway through their next album and plan to release it as early as May this year, NME.COM can reveal.

The group are working with R&B producer C-Swing on the follow-up to their eponymous 1999 debut album at a studio in Hastings. Speaking to NME.COM last week, the founder of the Beta Band’s Regal Recordings label, Miles Leonard, revealed that the new material was in full swing.

He said: “It’s sounding excellent. C-Swing’s brought his knowledge of programming and sounds and that’s something that they’re always trying to bring to the production.

“He’s a great musician as well. Everything’s going really well.”

Once the still-untitled album is released, the Beta Band will most likely embark on a full tour of the UK, and intend to play at this year’s summer festivals.

Despite the success of their first three EPs, the band’s 1999 debut long-player was considered a letdown, both by fans and the band themselves. At the time of its release, the group described it as “fucking awful” and “the worst record made this year”.

It had been rumoured that after the album’s release the group had come close to splitting, but now it seems that they are back on track.

But while Beta Band fans await the new album, they can content themselves with the debut release from Lone Pigeon – the man who formed the Beta Band in 1996 with frontman Steve Mason. Aka Goroden Anderson, Lone Pigeon helped to write songs from the group’s debut release, the ‘Champion Versions EP’, which came out in 1997.

At the time, Mason and Anderson were considering calling their group The Pigeons, but later decided on the Beta Band. A source close to the band told NME.COM: “They definitely came to the right decision when it comes to the name.”

When the Beta Band signed to Regal/Parlophone Records and moved down to London to further their career, Lone Pigeon became ill and decided to leave the band and stay in his native Scotland.

Despite leaving the group, Lone Pigeon still contributed to the group’s ‘Flower Press’ fanzine.

Lone Pigeon will release his debut solo record sometime in February through Fence – a Fife-based independent label. It’ll feature two tracks -‘Summertime Beeswing’ and ‘Touched By Tamoko’.

The EP is highly reminiscent of the Beta Band’s trademark experimental psychedelic folk music.