Despite sounding like the preferred holiday destination of your favourite fraggle, Squaw Peak, now re-named Piestewa, is the second-highest point in Arizona’s Phoenix Mountains. Nearly 2000 miles to the South East lies Tallahassee, Florida, home to Holiday Shores. With New Masses for Squaw Peak, the experimental five-piece have attempted to make a record “as wide-open as…the title suggests." It’s a case of close, but no cigar.

This is their second full-length under the Holiday Shores moniker (they were previously known as Continental Divide). Sadly, much of the criticism directed at their 2009 debut Columbus’d the Whim is applicable here also. Pitchfork described the band as sounding like they were “playing from a few blocks away” on that record. They don’t seem to have learnt their lesson. Nathan Pemberton’s vocals are buried even further down in the mix. In some instances this works, such as on the Ariel Pink-aping opener ‘Airglow’. Elsewhere however, the melody is lost and the song suffers, repelling rather than pulling you in. Pemberton’s fragile vocal abilities are cruelly exposed on the rare occasions he’s pushed to the forefront.

The lo-fi aesthetic utilised by Pink on last year’s acclaimed Before Today worked because he had a shed load of killer tunes and bags of personality. Holiday Shores aren’t short of ideas or unadventurous in terms of instrumentation, they simply lack the songs to justify such haphazard sound construction. he production is a little confused, too woozy in some places. Perhaps this is due to the recordings “being run through three mixing boards by three separate pairs of hands”; too many cooks, etc. The uncomfortably tuneless ‘Cord-Du-Roi’ should’ve been omitted

There are some positives to gleam from this release. Recent single ‘Spells’ is an excellent slice of Steely Dan esque pop-funk. It shows they can craft an interesting, infectious pop song if they put their minds to it. The first minute of ‘Mystic Pharaohs’ sounds like Eno-era Roxy Music; ‘Injun’ inhabits the same melodic universe as Fleet Foxes. Excluding Vampire Weekend, not many bands get the tropicalia thing right - Holiday Shores do it wonderfully well, especially on album closer ‘Shadie Spun Gold’. Perhaps it’ll be a case of third time lucky for these Floridians. Frustrating, as they’re clearly capable of more.