It's always a bit of a shock when an artist makes a change. We've not heard very much from James Yuill in the three years since he released the excellent Movement in a Storm, though there are people who will be more clued-in on what he's been up to than most. He used PledgeMusic to fund his new record, for which he's deciding to go it alone and release on his own label, going back to where it all started eight years ago. The Happy Biscuit Club put out his first two albums, The Vanilla Disc and Turning Down Water For Air, the latter of which was reissued by Moshi Moshi in 2009. He's gone back to his roots in a way, but the new record marks a change in sound for Yuill, as he's moved from folktronica (a rather loose term in itself) to straight-up pop. He's not exactly been quiet about his love of iy, but it's coming through in his music more clearly than ever before.

These Spirits is an album of single-worthy songs, brimming with melody and pin-sharp precision. Yuill has taken a sound that's already big, and made it huge - in a perfect world, an album like this would be ready to mount an assault upon the charts when it's released next week. It's chart-and-radio-friendly, storming electro-pop from a man who's comfortable writing songs as infectious as 'Turn Yourself Around' and 'The Rush', then turning around and working with bands like Post War Years and Cymbals. His indie cred is intact, but These Spirits is shameless about its accessibility. It merges scintillating hooks with resonant lyrics (opener 'Lost in California' takes aim at religion in general, and Scientology in particular), and there's even one instance ('Contestants') on which Yuill goes instrumental and produces a hands-in-the-air, dancefloor-destroying anthem. Vocals are all well and good, but going down the euphoric dance route suits him fine, too.

It's not quite as full-on as all that, though: 'Hello Heaven Hello' brings a slightly more melancholic side to proceedings, while 'Old-fashioned' slows things right down for the most contemplative track on the album. The best pop albums usually combine variety with efficiency, and the widening of Yuill's palette on the back half of the 12-track album shows that he's well able to do this. It seems that going it alone has helped him in some ways: while his talent was never in doubt, he's able to apply himself fully to perfecting his artistic vision as an independent, which means there are more surprises contained on These Spirits than one might expect, not least the R&B that flecks the mid-tempo penultimate track 'Second-hand'. Yuill's making some changes, and while the maxim is not always true, in this case, change really is good.