Showing significant development from last year's Tape One, Anticon's newest UK signings Young Fathers return with their second outing for the legendary Bay Area collective and an equally moody and even more loony romp.

Tape Two feels like another pre-album teaser release, a companion piece to its predecessor and a catch-up to the considerable back catalogue that Young Fathers have been hawking for some time now. The horizon is broader, the pallet richer, and the result feels almost primed to crossover.

The tone is familiar - a combination of Gaelic, African and American cadences, grimy, rasping basement beats and pulverising synth basslines, a lo-fi mixing process that unexpectedly foregrounds whispered rhymes and then hides belted-out melodies lower down in the soup. The resulting morass largely eschews samples for synths, feeling like an FM radio broadcast from an immigrant, melting pot street party. It's that most thrilling of an overheard transmission, a po-faced rave.

Ever since I heard it (once, during an early post-Anticon signing support show in Manchester last year) the chorus to 'I Heard' has been bouncing around inside my head. Young Fathers throw it out first here, and it's the most accessible thing on the tape. The chord progression and melody will be vaguely familiar to fans of The Beloved's Sweet Harmony, while the lead vocal recalls a less tailored Outkast. One of the aforementioned 'inner ear' raps sweeps in, floating somewhere above the roomy, booming beats. The ambience is messy, overbearing and infectious.

'Come To Life' and 'Way Down in the Hole' both wield killer hooks that show Young Fathers can bring that rare element in a rap crew - a way with a tune. It's endemic of the three-pronged approach they employ, balancing rap, rhythm and melody. Each member gets his 30 seconds on the soapbox, with mostly short, oddly constructed verses built around pop choruses.

The promise of a full, more polished statement beckons. While both Tape One and Tape Two work as invocations of a particular period in a relatively young hip-hop crew's development, a full collection needs to be tied together by something more varied than the grungey template they have so far adhered to, which isn't to say that fans won't be returning to these tapes for years to come.

With the roster of producer talent Anticon has at its fingertips, there may yet be some kind of Executive Production job forced on the full-on debut… but somehow I doubt it. If the artistic conglomerate that is Anticon's label management team didn't think that Young Fathers have it in them to produce a defining, relevant statement of intent, I don't think they would have signed them. Which makes the debut proper all the more tantalising.