When the Brighton trio’s second LP starts with the tightly bound ‘Iceland Spar’ – all pounding chords, crashing drums and Rachel Davies’ honey-sweet voice – a surge of anticipation is sparked. When she moans “Supine, divine, lost in dreamtime” amidst the surgically precise guitars of ‘Slow Wave’ that anticipation dissolves into goose bumps. But ‘Yellow Wood’ heralds a second-half slump in which Davies’ pagan poetics begin to feel overcooked, the pertly galloping drum fills over-pompous and the band’s generally sombre aesthetic over-cultivated.
At times modern prog rock, at others post rock – but rarely ever actually rocking – the band’s medieval flavours and deftly intertwined electronic touches, technically, work well. Yet the strongest flavour here is narcissism: a suspicion that style has trumped substance.