Darkstar’s Young, Whalley and Buttery have warmed up their game: more hallucinogenic, and though not without its concerns, less pointed. That’s to say their debut ‘North’, conspicuous by its appearance on Hyperdub, may have been a wee bit chillier, its greater computerisation providing an allowance of disconnection, but wasn’t one to be whispering threats.
Their newest newscast is a record that simultaneously could take you anywhere, yet doesn’t really go anywhere at all; its strength is just being there, a bedside presence padding inner sanctums with shoegaze catharsis and transcendent ether. And occasional swells of bass - ‘Amplified Ease’ keeps tabs on post-dubstep, without it being to the detriment of its pop jangling mojo. The build-ups and releases of pressure are like a song-savvy spa treatment; inevitably the end and longest track ‘Hold Me Down’ is prog instrumentalism kneading the senses, after music box innocence, as on the preciousness of ‘Timeaway’, has feathered the faculties as standard. But the worry stroked through ‘A Day’s Pay For A Day’s Work’, where the flowers begin to wilt in a surf-pop lament, means it’s best to be on your guard for the forty-minute duration.
Only have one ear open and everything is sure to turn to an evaporating drift, more so when the title-less track four - there’s enigma for you - is all beat-smothering breath; plus you’d miss ‘Armonica’ starting lopsided with a case of the shakes, but ending up in a full indie jangling bloom. Pretty, from the heart and for the heart, but its headlines are not just delivered from one massive fluffy cloud.
Words by MATT OLIVER