If you're aware of the Anjunabeats record label, you may already be asking yourself, 'what is an artist like Andrew Bayer doing on there?' I thought that myself. I didn't think he fit in with the label's overall aesthetic, and I still don't; after all, Anjunabeats have become known for releasing trance records, whereas when Bayer is mentioned, it's usually in the same company as, say, Gold Panda or Flying Lotus. He sticks out on the label's roster, and would probably feel more at home over at Warp with FlyLo and Mount Kimbie. By now, you should have an idea of what the album sounds like, but I'm painting a picture with the broadest strokes imaginable - Bayer's 16-track, 63-minute second album refuses to be easily pigeonholed. If It Were You, We'd Never Leave is an immersive and intoxicating, striking a balance between deft melodicism andexperimental offerings, one which means he could fit into the sub-genre of progressive house best of all. That's not the full story, though; with Bayer, it never is.

Two years on from his debut, It's Artificial, Bayer has returned with an even more ambitious sound. His new record is laid out like a film score, an 'Opening Act' setting the scene with pulsing melodies and a beat that works very well indeed in 3/4 (and there's 'A Brief Interlude' and a stunning. 7-minute 'Closing Act' too). That's one thing about If It Were You...: standard 4/4 beats are out of the question. Bayer's atmospheric side gets a run out on the album as well; 'Let's Hear That B Section Again!' makes use of a wash of synths and arpeggiating keyboards while samples of crackling vinyl rumble in the background - as they do in many other places on the album, helping tracks flow into each other. On the whole, the album is quite atmospheric and grandiose, but Bayer never forgets to let the tracks speak for themselves, and he veers into borderline pop territory when a few songs featuring vocals turn up; Ane Brun's star turn on lead single 'Lose Sight' is the highlight of that bunch, and that's no small feat when Bayer's able to pull in Deb Talari (once) and Alison May (twice!) to guest on his tracks.

There are unexpectedly calm moments scattered through the album, too; even if most of the record is chilled in sound, Bayer doesn''t go full-on ambient until mid-way through with the hauntingly beautiful 'All This Will Happen Again', and pairing it with the infectious 'Echo' (a track on which his abilities as a rhythm composer really come to the fore) is an excellent move. Coming out the other side of its interlude, the album moves into more expansive territory, with 'Farnsworth Court' and 'Make No Sound' ranking among the most-dense sounding tracks on the record, indicators of what Bayer can do when he really cuts loose. While he's most comfortable with mid-paced tracks, the diversity on display across the entirety of If It Were You, We'd Never Leave shows that he's an inventive produce it's impossible to get a handle on, with the Eluvium-esque 'Counting Down' coming out of nowhere towards the album's close to the listener completely floored. The best albums of this kind, the ones which leave a lasting impression, are the ones that make you think, and Bayer's latest certainly does that. Who knows where he'll be at in another two years?