The music of Berlin/Mexico City group Exploded View is lush and evocative with an air of dystopia that spans everything from post-punk and goth to industrial and new-wave with ease. It possesses a sense of danger with an adventurous spirit running through it: released two years ago, their Exploded View was a collection of songs that were recorded in a single take.

The "warts and all" approach is risky but fun and it also shows how much confidence a band has in its craft. That they were willing to allow their mistakes and shortcomings to mingle with their abilities was impressive as was the music itself. At it's best it was strange and unsettling and also something you could dance to at times. Annika Henderson is an imaginative songwriter who also possesses a chilling voice capable of conveying any number of emotions from suspense and tension to sadness and an eerie sense of peace often in the same space.

Two years later the band has regrouped for a follow-up that is even more ambitious than their debut. Now a three-piece, they've forgone the "first take is the best take" approach and refined their technique. On Obey, they've embraced things like overdubs and multi-instrumentalism to mostly thrilling results.

A bubbling synth opens the first proper song 'Open Road' whose icy beauty is slightly offset by a gently strummed acoustic piercing through the effects, a plodding beat, and Henderson's haunted singing. Everything sounds live and crisp and there's an obvious polish to the sound, but it doesn't sound overproduced. If anything, the minor refinement brings some added clarity.

'Sleepers' also benefits from the added attention to detail: Easily comparable to an early Cocteau Twins song (at least in spirit), synthesizers buzz and snarl beneath a layer of funeral-like keyboards over which Henderson's voice glides with ease. Meanwhile bursts of guitar resembling a buzzsaw crop up occasionally to cut through everything with jagged slashes. What makes it so startling is how all of those different elements managed to co-exist without bleeding into one another.

And when they turn to their familiar and gleeful mix of dance and post-punk on 'Dark Stains,' it feels less like a retread and more like a fresh take with tighter playing and greater focus. There are moments though where their ambition does get the better of them. Both 'Gone Tomorrow' and 'Obey' stretch just beyond the five-minute mark, and while they aren't the first lengthy songs Exploded View has written, neither one succeeds in creating the kind of moody hypnotic atmosphere they're aiming for, and compared to the higher quality of the songwriting here, the otherwise playful 'Come On Honey' feels almost like an afterthought with hardly any effort put into it.

As an album Obey explores numerous themes presented in a kind of dream-like sequence, but like our dreams most of the time, those themes often play out in an incoherent way that may take a few listens to make sense. But the missteps are few enough they do little to tarnish what the band set out to accomplish, and the stronger songs here prove Exploded View is becoming more thrilling, ambitious and confident with each release.