Sometimes, you have to know where to look. When looking for new music, the one thing that will always intrigue me, before I've heard a note, is the label a certain band put something out on. Captured Tracks has a reputation for releasing some of the finest pop music around, though it's often filtered through various genres.

They're on a hot streak as of late: the recent Soft Metals album was an improvement on a fine debut, and Blouse are on a similar quest to avoid a sophomore slump, and they have decided that a change is as good as a rest; what this means is that the synths and drum machines that characterised the lush, dreamy sound of their 2011 self-titled debut have been cast aside in favour of what band member/producer Jacob Portrait has called "instruments that don't plug into a wall." There's also a post-punk influence on the title track, strong basslines (courtesy of Patrick Adams), live drums and an effective economy of melody showing that Blouse have smartened up considerably.

The sense of haziness that was all over their self-titled album hasn't completely gone away, though - lead vocalist Charlie Hilton's voice is often treated, distorted, slightly muffled, giving the whole thing a good dose of the typical Blouse atmosphere. It's the sound of something old clashing with something daring and new, and it's a match made in heaven. Hilton may sound a little disinterested when her voice isn't given free reign on such tracks as 'Eyesight', but she comes through clear as a bell on '1000 Years' and the beautiful, semi-acoustic track 'Capote'; the latter is an album highlight, on which cello is pitted against ragged electric guitar, something which would be expected to sound messy and discordant, but it's sometimes hard to tell one from the other - they complement each other perfectly. Twin guitars are the driving force of 'In A Feeling Like This', a track which seems to sum up the band's new sound; they may be the same band we fell in love with, but something has definitely changed

That album title is important. Imperium is the Latin for 'power to command' (roughly speaking), and the overhaul of their sound that has taken place under this banner is significant. This time around, they've gone for something more powerful, and this new-found strength manifests itself in unexpected ways. They're now getting away with things which they wouldn't even have dreamed of attempting two years ago: 'No Shelter' and 'Happy Days' break new ground for the band, showing that they're not just pushing things forward for the sake of progress; their debut suggested that they might one day become a force to be reckoned with, and Imperium confirms it.

There are plenty of different places that they could go from here - there are even krautrock vibes running through 'Trust Me', a song which ends the album on a sort of open-ended note, fading out and back in as it winds down, unsure of where it wants to go next, but enjoying the journey all the same. It sums up the band's current situation quite nicely: whatever their next album sounds like, it'll surely be interesting.