Even if I'd tried, I would've struggled to avoid Golden Glow these past few years. Any regular Mancunian gig-goer is bound to have encountered them at some point, especially since promoters extraordinaire Now Wave took a shine to Pierre Hall's project.

The thing about Now Wave is that they don't just throw their line-ups together. There's usually some attempt to select complementary support bands, and Golden Glow, accordingly, have opened for the likes of Yuck, Wild Nothing and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. There's little doubt that Hall is clearly in thrall to many of the same C86 influences that shaped those bands; the list of cues he's taken from that era extends to his stage name, plucked from the Felt song 'Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow.'

Hall's one and only full-length to date - 2011's Tender is the Night - was as low-key as it was lo-fi; an affectionate run through his obvious influences - the lead single was even called 'The Cure' - it showcased his ear for melodic guitars and deadpan vocals, but made little attempt to reach much further than the shoegazey niche that Golden Glow had come to land in. Beauty/Duty was originally intended to be that move forward - initial recording sessions took place with a producer and a full band - but Hall's dislike for the clean nature of the sound led him back to his four-track for what would ultimately become another solo release.

That's not to say there aren't attempts at sonic variation on this six-track EP; Hall has managed to both delve into the darker side of his existing influences and toy with a few new ones. Opener 'Don't Forget Me' is a stormy blend of distorted vocals and reverb-sodden guitars; where the riffs on Tender Is the Night were largely as gentle as the record's title suggests, they're far more menacing here. That same unsettling, moody atmosphere also underscores 'The Scene', which sounds like an offcut from The Cure's Disintegration.

There's an exhaustive list of recurring sonic features in Manchester-bred music that sound completely tired by now; one of the few motifs that hasn't quite been worn out yet is the uncanny ability of the city's musicians to inject a little of the industrial mood of their surroundings into their sound. It's something that's currently undergoing a revival through the likes of PINS and Kult Country, and Hall's channeled it with mixed results here; the instrumental 'LiP' fizzes along, mechanical percussion backing Bunnymen-esque guitars, but 'I Could've Known' fails to match its New Order beat with anything similarly interesting over a protracted five-minute running time.

Closer 'Gum Down' is perhaps the most experimental track on here; Hall tries his hand at what can perhaps best be described as downbeat reggae, and doesn't hesitate to adopt an appropriate accent in the process. It serves as proof that he's more than willing to break away from the well-travelled road that his obsession with C86 has him moving down; Beauty/Duty is replete with new ideas whilst retaining the identity forged on Tender Is the Night, but if Golden Glow are to truly step forward, it might be time to put the four-track to one side.