Head here to submit your own review of this album.

London duo Cloud Boat's second album Model Of You comes scarcely a year after their debut full-length Book Of Hours, but despite the minimal break between releases, the changes and augmentation in their sound are clear to anybody from the very first listen. Book Of Hours sounded like music crafted in a dark, dany, cobwebbed dungeon, with no light. As 'Prelude' opens up Model Of You, with marching drums and heroic electric guitars, it sounds as though someone has busted into that dungeon with a burning torch and sent that darkness scampering into shadowy corners. The music is bigger, bolder and more direct, but crucially there is still that lingering murkiness on the edges.

Talking about this album from early on, the duo of Tom Clarke and Sam Ricketts have talked up the adventurousness of their new album, and how working with a producer has taken their sound firmly out of the bedroom and other de facto writing spaces (although that is still largely where ideas were born). This was obvious on the early single 'Carmine', and the fuller sound is dominant through the majority of the album. Whereas on Book Of Hours the use of house-like beats acted like a skeleton barely holding the paucity of other instrumentation together, here they are firm building blocks for the power-pop numbers like the harp-inflected 'Thoughts In Mine' and the electrifying guitar gallantry of 'Aurelia', to name a couple. Clarke's rich and telling voice was previously the main focal point of their previous outing due to the lack of anything much obstructing it; here the instrumentation rises to match the waves of emotion that he's delivering.

On the one hand these songs bring an entirely new musical punch to Cloud Boat's sound, but on the other it is a shame to lose the delicacy and fraught vulnerability that made Book Of Hours such a magnetic listen. The duo have ostensibly brought in more instrumentation and spent more time on the production to make their music more atmospheric, but previously it was the chasms of electrified minimalism that wafted through their songs and gave them an intriguing and unique climate. 'Portraits of Eyes' and 'The Glow' return to the simplistic formula of beats and minimal guitar to back Clarke's voice and it's not surprising that they produce the most affecting vocal takes on the album. 'Portraits of Eyes' is particularly impressive; as the song progresses more layers are added to increase the drama and tension, but you're already sucked into the vocal from the beginning that you can't be distracted and your focus ends up in the middle of a whirlpool of sound. Following track 'Bricks Are For' is the most spindly and beautiful track in the collection, as Clarke's voice floats over shapeless expanses of gentle synth, guitar and ghostly voices. This shows that they haven't entirely lost that sense of fragility; some of the most stripped down songs and moments are the peaks of the album.

Closing track 'Hallow' is their longest to date, clocking in at seven minutes. Despite its length it is possibly the most efficiently effective song Cloud Boat have written to date, as it starts in muted gentle mode, and slowly builds through its extended running time. At the point when Clarke finally lets out all the tension you're right there with him, letting out the emotion that has been building not only in this song but in all the others preceding it. It's an impressive way to sign off their second album in as many years, and one that, along with the majority of the songs on the album, is likely to make them a much more striking live act. The only problem with that is it probably means we'll have to wait much longer for their next album.

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.