My favourite sport is what we in Australia call ‘athletics’. As such, any recording that opens with a tune titled Stars of Track and Field was bound to win my heart.
The Hibernian ensemble plough the same rich field of clever lyrics and lush orchestrations as on their impressive debut. The album is ever so slightly more hit and miss however, and the vocals start to wear a little thin as they swirl in very familiar fashion from one track to the next.
The very best pieces are highly memorable and catchy, such as Judy and the Dream of Horses, Me and the Major, the title track and the aforementioned athletic anthem. Murdoch continues to impress with his unique take on sardonic adolescence (think Holden Caufield with a stonger melodic sense).
Of course, the trap with second albums is that they simply don’t surprise as much. I’ve never found this CD as engaging as their first. It would benefit from a bit more variety in style. It is still very strong however, and equally well-suited to lolling contemplation.
File under: Sweet yet caustic