After their relatively bright debut album, Ways To Forget, this sophomore record is dominated by loss and different ways of dealing with grief.
The London-based synth-driven quartet were formed by Guy Connelly in 2009 and his distinctive alto voice defines their sound. He is able to use it to appear both strong and vulnerable. He veers more towards the latter on this record since the majority of the songs were inspired by the shock and sadness of his partner's miscarriage.
In describing the writing process, Connelly talks of being motivated by fear, rage, self-doubt, grief and loneliness with moods which swing between "menacing and euphoric".
The darkness of the lyrics is illuminated by the kind of sophisticated prog-pop arrangements one associates with Talk Talk or Peter Gabriel. Changeling, for example, combines synthesized rhythms with chopped up samples of church bells.
The most upbeat and only political song is Dervish inspired by video footage of a Turkish dancer in a gas mask shot during an Occupy Movement rally.
Otherwise, the mood is introspective and resolutely personal. For instance, Connolly says Closer is "about how quickly paranoia can turn to conflict" and includes the arresting line "we're never closer than when we fight".
Meanwhile, Whippoorwill is a lonely song drawing upon associations with a nocturnal bird whose song is mainly heard around dusk or dawn.
There are hints of some form of religious consolation on Hear My Prayer but sobering allusions to the transience of life are represented in the closing track When We Disappear.
Here, the recognition that "I'm a drop in the ocean. I'm an ear on the plain" somehow puts all the soul-searching into stark perspective and reaffirms that this is a pop record which is as serious as your life.
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