After a three-year release gap, the Portland indie madmen are back, and they remain on form. As was the case with the Grammy-nominated ‘Friend And Foe’, the tracks have been built up, layer by layer, packed with loops and piled high with an array of instruments, from eerily tinkling chimes to the blast of a bass sax. Opening track ‘Queen Black Acid’ starts in a deceptively stark vein but eventually tumbles into euphoric choruses about falling down a rabbit hole. The band’s psychedelic pop base, washed by waves of piano and strings, and bombarded by crashing drums, can feel claustrophobic and it’s tempting to gasp for oxygen between each immersion of dense, complicated – though beautiful – sound, but the artfully placed sonic ebbs always swoop in, just before your senses drown. But only just. It’s an exhausting listen, but well worth it.

By Polly Rappaport

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