Bright Star Recordings - 2002 - 40 minutes

Indie supergroup The Reindeer Section are back, just a year after their well received debut 'Y'all Get Scared Now, Ya Hear'. 15-strong for that episode, this time a total of 27 musicians from Northern Ireland and Scotland - weighing in at 297 stone - gathered together to create an album that sounds far more cohesive than it should have any right to.

Based around the organisational and song-writing skills of Snowpatrol's Gary Lightbody, 'Son of Evil Reindeer' took longer to make (they had the luxury of two weeks instead of ten days) and is an altogether more polished effort than 'Y'all Get Scared Now Ya Here'. Like the first album, Lightbody wrote the majority of the songs but Arab Strap's Aidan Moffat weighs in for the closing track, the muzzy-headed 'Whodunnit'.

Although there are moments when things don't fall into place – neither 'Who Told You' nor 'Last Song On Blue Tape' are particularly memorable - the times when the many pieces fit together instantly grab you. Do you want to listen to something madly upbeat? Try 'Cartwheels'. A fan of glorious pop? 'Grand Parade' and 'You Are My Joy' are yours for the taking.

And when you want to come down from all that happiness, there's the heartbreaking perfection of 'I'll Be Here When You Wake', which sounds like something lifted from Mark Kozelek's songbook, or the smack-in-the-face 'Cold Water'.

The Reindeer is back - and for the better...

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: Grand Parade - Budapest - Strike Me Down - Your Sweet Voice - I'll be Here When You Wake - Where I Fall - Cartwheels - Last Song On Blue Tape - Cold Water - You Are My Joy - Who Told You - Whodunnit?