Listening to Into The Murky Water you're reminded of how many musicians have tried to distill the essence of what makes up 'Britishness' into an album. You're also reminded that while some have triumphed, most, inevitably, have failed.

As singer, writer and multi-instrumentalist in The Leisure Society Nick Hemming - who previously played in a band with Paddy Considine and Shane Meadows - has created two dazzling bodies of work which captures what it means to be from this country. This is (his) England, a beautiful land in which people are witty, world-weary and nearly defeated but in the end take what they have and make the most of it.

There has been a lot of anticipation around this album. 2009 debut The Sleeper gained rave reviews, adulation from fellow musicians and two Ivor Novello nominations. What of Into The Murky Water then? Well, the uplifting harmonies and melodies remain, as well as Hemming's skill as a self-deprecating lyricist, but there is a darker current running through this album.

So, we have the spectral harmonies, stabbing violins and existential doubt of the title track, 'Pondering on this life and how we use it or abuse it'; the touching 'Hearts Burn Like Damp Matches' which talks of 'stale regret and dull routines' and lead single 'This Phantom Life's, If we only knew the answers we could put them up onto t-shirts' which climaxes with a choir of heavenly "la la la las".

It's clear listening to this that the 'British Fleet Foxes' tag which accompanied reviews of the first album was critics looking in the wrong places. This music has much more in common - both in their lush, pastoral sound and the ideas they explore - with the likes of Nick Drake, Teenage Fanclub, Belle and Sebastian, The Delgados, The New Pornographers as well as the perpetually underrated, Clearlake.

Just as these artists have done The Leisure Society - made up of Hemming, Christian Hardy as well as a raft of other musicians - create the perfect combination of blissful sounds and existential doubt. Keyboards, cellos, ukuleles, double bass, flutes, violins and beautiful harmonies weave a beautiful bed of sound that contrast perfectly with Hemming's bittersweet ruminations on life.

'Although We All Are Lost' is the centerpiece of the album, its lyrics encapsulating the main ideas of the album. The knowledge that though nothing is certain "it barely seems to matter now, our lives they are complete".

This is England at its most wistful and romantic best, reluctantly optimistic and, after all is said… doing it for love, because, well, it's always worth it in the end.

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