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For their second long-player, the Big Apple's finest avant-garde funk-punk outfit - Ava Luna - have changed up the work ethic that proved successful on their first LP. Instead of Ava Luna's diaspora dispersing to cultivate genius, they worked together, coming up with ideas and building upon loose foundations as a cohesive unit, as opposed to their standard methods of lonerism and isolation. Rather than blueprinting every twist and beat, they opted for baggy jam-sessions and one take live recordings. "I grew closer to my bandmates," says singer/guitarist Carlos Hernandez of the process, "[and I] began to see the roles of a family playing out. Ethan [Bassford, bass] cooks dinner for all of us, we make lewd jokes, and then 'after-dinner storytelling' takes the form of playing music."

For the record, this rawness and lo-fi unity is a strident facet. It's a helluva lot more skeletal, like someone's starved their soulful punkophony until it's just spine'n'sternum left; there's nothing extraneous tacked onto their cuts. Their 'nervous soul' - a term they coined - sits looser, and while still rifling through social anxiety and having intermittent panic-attacks, their sound feels more chilled-out, as if someone introduced a Xanax or two into the fray. Don't be mistaken though, there's certainly plenty of jerky, spasmodic, body-convulsing, angular post-funk eccentricity; it's so gorgeously cater-cornered, jarring in patches and indebted to imperfection. You can't not be ensnared by their experimental, yet endearing, takes on glam, funk, soul, classic R&B (that's '60s/'70s not '90s) and rock'n'roll. There's a very humane 'communal' feel within the sedated kook.

'PRPL' lollops with sludgy synth-gospel blobs, space-age synths drifting above shuffling blues percussion and utterly exquisite vox from Felicia Douglass - this is golden age soul stuff right here. It's intoxicated and graceful, like getting trashed at prom. Rock-tinged funk ditty 'Plain Speech' sounds like someone's peeled it from the '70s; with jittery axes and beguiling riffs, alongside the ravenous howls and moans from Hernandez, it leans towards psychedelic territories. However, with the whopping great chorus, it soars into '90s Midwest pop. The tracks aren't all this simple though.

'Daydream' a wailing punkish number with funk basslines and free jazz brass, is like the exorcism of James Brown. Agonised yelps join with all manner of oddball tones - distorted drums, duelling guitar solos, paranoid vocal schisms... it's not the easiest of listens, but the palpable energy is to be admired between the caterwauling and alienating sax passages. 'Ab Ovo' is jolty, warped and rammed with off-kilter, off-key six-stringer welps. Ever trodden on a dog's tail? Well that's what the guitars manage to sound like - and, it's not terrible. Even while being self-indulgent jammy experimenteurs, they excel at capturing attention and being riveting listens. At their most aloof and antagonistic, they're bewitching.

In some respects, the album's heavily reminiscent of The Child Of Lov's skewed assault on soul. It's 100% non-standard, bearing just enough of the genre's hallmarks to squish themselves in. Like The Child Of Lov, Ava Luna are outsiders of the style, but they thrive off that pariah-like status, forming truly exceptional, fascinating music. Electric Balloon may be a gamble in more ways than one for the NYC nostalgic collective, but it's one that reaps far more than it sows.