HÆLOS are a band whose influences are numerous and clear to see. The challenge of being an alt-indie band is to carve a niche where these influences are nods and winks rather than pastiche. On Full Circle, HÆLOS manage to do both leading to some inspired moments and others which lack precisely that required inspiration.

The press release accompanying Full Circle describes HÆLOS as finding their blues on the dancefloor and 'introspective comedowns that accompany rainy 5am cab rides' - it's not a new aesthetic but it's one that works as The xx and Burial will testify to. The band's trio of Lotti Benardout, Arthur Delaney and Dom Goldsmith place themselves on a well-trodden path of post-electronic doom and gloom bands who've had bloody well had enough with all that clubbing people do.

The opening track opens with drawn out synths with a crackling recording of the Alan Watts poem 'The Spectrum of Love'. It sounds like a Public Service Broadcasting album track and let's you in on the direction Full Circle will be heading. After the opener, things begin to meld into one as 'Pray', 'Dust' and 'Full Circle' employ the same Massive Attack muffled breakbeat sounds and male/female The xx vocal dynamic. What The xx do well is to leave enough space for the male and female vocals to be heard separately whereas HÆLOS have the vocals delivered simultaneously leading to a Jungle-esque sound where voices become indistinguishable and all songs sound the same.

The standard HÆLOS sound is not bad. It's solid and they've really nailed the vibe but the opening half of the album is a promise which isn't really built upon. There are nice moments, like the second half of 'Full Circle' with its throbbing synth undercutting the rest of the instrumentation but the following track 'Earth Not Above' doesn't shift the album from a steady second gear.

At numerous points in Full Circle, I struck with the realisation that the majority of the tracks on the album would be vastly improved without vocals. As mentioned, the male/female singer dynamic often comes across as jumbled and unclear leading to a lack of an emotional connection. In a similar way to Jungle, you can't latch onto one voice and it melds all of their songs into one blob. For HÆLOS, it also allows some of the more unrefined lyrics (of which there are many) to hide behind aesthetic.

When HÆLOS abandon their tripled vocal technique, the results are astounding. Album centrepiece 'Oracle' is simply amazing. It sounds like Jon Hopkins' 'Open Eye Signal' was taken to the Robyn school of emotional dark pop, and given a stellar education. It's instantly separated from the rest of the album by opening with a clipped and pitched vocal sample but it's the vocals sang by Bernadout which are allowed to rise above her male counterparts to achieve a clarity unheard on the rest of Full Circle.

Sadly, 'Oracle' is by far the highest point on the album as the disappointing 'Alone' follows and leads the album to an unsatisfying conclusion which borrows far too heavily from 'Unfinished Sympathy'-era Massive Attack.

There's undoubted potential (and some of it realised brilliantly on 'Oracle') but Full Circle is not a blistering original debut from HÆLOS. What it is, is a nice collection of dark trip-hop pop songs influenced by some great names but without forcing you to remember the name of HÆLOS. A little more substance over style will lead HÆLOS to bigger and better things.