And So I Watch You from Afar - All Hail Bright FuturesWednesday 13 Mar 2013
Like Neurosis, Mogwai and many others before them, And So I Watch You from Afar have come to the conclusion that they can bludgeon people from now until old age, but that won't do justice to themselves, or their fans.
Enter All Hail Bright Futures, as joyously played as it is titled and ASIWYFA's most adventurous, but also accessible album yet.
Whereas previous onslaughts showcased their credentials for collapsing the walls of pokey venues, this one could also get a whole festival field of newbies jumping, not just the diehards, misfits and stray rockers who've lost their way en route to the chip van.
Along with the trademark fax machine-meets-metal riffage, there's a sort-of Club Tropicana vibe scattered throughout - and how it suits them. This heightened sense of feels-good-play-it freedom involves, say, a trumpet on one song and a flute on another with some - gasp - happy gang vocals to keep you humming.
Crucially, the record gets better as it goes along, so that by the time you reach the title track (so beautiful it could be a wedding song without the cake going flying) and closer Young Brave Minds (epic build up, epic release, heartwarming signpost for the future) you feel as ready for anything as the lads sound.
Third time lucky with the Choice Music Prize? You shouldn't need luck with something as good as this.