It starts with ‘A Glamour’, creepily building up to an excoriating guitar riff that hints at something altogether darker and heavier than last year’s debut. But the darkness dissolves into what seems like a paean to camping, or campfires. Maybe. ‘O’, the second tune, encapsulates all that’s great about The Phantom Band, whilst simultaneously highlighting where it could all go wrong, as they veer from sound and style, embracing all their influences.
Whereas the eclecticism on Checkmate Savage marked out the band’s refusal to be easily categorised , it seems here to be more like a lack of focus. They should have a more solid sense of self and of where they are going. The drift, sometimes within a single song, from the stadium-rock tropes that pretty much define Scottish music (from the Bay City Rollers to Biffy Clyro, and everything inbetween), to beeping electronica, Prog nods or Grizzly Bear type starkness occasionally makes for unsettling listening. But then again, Arcade Fire have turned it into an artform. Next stop, some stadia, and a Big Country-esque fall from grace.