After a lengthy stay in label hell, and nearly four years on from their debut, Future Kings of Spain provide a masterclass in the theory that time away can be time best spent.

While their first album was a fine collection of guitar rock, the jump in songwriting depth and confidence from that to this is startling.

Having mastered the ability to sound as convincing playing it soft as heavy that they hinted at in 2003, the quartet keep your attention throughout - the hooks are great, the choruses are often beautiful and the eight-minute-plus 'Syndicate' shows just how far they're willing to venture.

In another year of many forgettable rock records, this is one that deserves to be remembered.

Harry Guerin