Scientific Laboratories - 2003 - 38 minutes

This second album from Dublin trio The Dudley Corporation is uncannily similar to their 2001 debut 'The Lonely World Of'. Both album titles end with a preposition, both are 38 minutes long, and, much more importantly, both share the same strengths and, more prominently, weaknesses.

First, the strengths. As a unit, TDC are tight; vocalist Dudley Colley shows he can carry a song, and there are sporadic flashes of exquisite delicacy on 'In Love With'. Yet these flashes are often diluted by poor vision and loose arrangements.

Opener 'Colossus' - gently hypnotic to begin with - is let down by a wretched last quarter of noise rock replete with voodoo vocals. Single 'What A Human Does' sounds like it'll soon be a live favourite, but on record it's almost as if they've forgotten about the second half of the lyrics. And even 'Maybe I', the most fully realised song on the album, and featuring some gorgeous strings towards the finish, all culminates a little too abruptly.

Brevity is actually a feature of the whole album. And while most bands never even heard of less being more, this all seems too rushed, with some good ideas lost or undeveloped in the scramble to close out many songs before they even get a chance to live.

The album ultimately sounds like a bunch of guys making music for their own amusement. And that's no bad thing, only that 'In Love With' is unlikely to lasso The Dudley Corporation any new fans. Still, existing ones are hardly likely to exit screaming either. Hardly a disaster then.

Tom Grealis

Tracklisting: Colossus - What A Human Does - New Song For You - Painting Futures Red - A.M. - To Angels and Dead Friends - Glance - (h)our Islands - Blessed Are The Strong - Maybe I…- The Auld Fairy - Count Me In - A Minor Thing - When You Wake Up