It’s normally unfortunate when a band really catches your ear on a new release, only for your attention to dwindle as the listening experience continues. Such is the fate of City of Glass on their second release, The Diving Bell. However, with the EP being publicly declared as a sort of ‘album preview’, from which only the first half of the four tracks will be preserved for the final cut, it is perhaps to the credit of the forthcoming full-length that these two stand out so far.

Opener ‘Sticks and Stones’, with its shimmering guitars awash with delay and subtle build ups, sounds as if it could have fit snugly in the track listing somewhere between ‘Blue Blood’ and ‘Spanish Sahara’ on Foals’ Total Life Forever. This gives way to new single ‘The Tourist’, where the tentative synths of the former track are replaced by an altogether more prominent buzzing tone in the chorus, really evoking the spirit of New Order and Depeche Mode at their most brooding. This latter track especially showcases the darker, more intimate approach to songwriting the band have embraced since debut release Equations, with its final refrain on themes of promises that couldn’t be kept and following ‘fruitless leads’.

Alas, the sombre mood they craft begins to grate when sustained across the whole release, and by the end it’s hard not to be praying that frontman Michael Champion would just lighten up and find the inspiration for something a little more upbeat. ‘Little Shadows’ is a pleasant enough reminder of how good Silent Alarm-era Bloc Party were, but closer ‘Control’ plods along and lyrics such as ‘I will lie awake at night and watch the clock keep losing time/slowly fading into silence’ sound mawkish and clichéd. It’s hard to take seriously when you realise that the delivery at times resembles (whisper it), Keane’s Tom Chaplin.

If the first two tracks had been released as a double A-side, it would have garnered hefty praise, and should City of Glass embrace both light and shade when given a lengthier running time, then the debut album has the potential to give the band their moment in the spotlight. It’s just a shame that they also show us on this occasion that they equally have the potential to retreat into a dark corner somewhere.