The best thing about an album like this is that there's no bad place to start. The new record from Philadelphia-based outfit Lotus displays an astonishing diversity that ensures that any of the album's 10 tracks make for a good introduction to the band. They attempt - and get away with - things that some bands of this genre wouldn't touch with a 50-foot pole, combining the sheer inventiveness of Mirrored-era Battles with a pop sensibility that is all their own. They may describe themselves as a jam band, but despite the improvisational nature of that term, the songs on Build are focused and tightly-scripted, allowing the band to take a dazzling number of risks. Opening song 'Break Build Burn' features, among other things, strings, horns, percussion and keyboard, along with the traditional rock band set-up of guitar, bass and drums. This may sound like the band are fond of over-egging things, but each part of the song has its place - and it's only the beginning.

Next, the band show off their hook-writing ability with the dazzling dance-rock of 'Massif', propelled by a straightforward 4/4 beat that lends the track a muscular energy. One wouldn't think that it could fit on the same album as the piano-driven off-kilter rock of 'Cutinuo', but therein is where Lotus's greatest strength lies: in striving to sound like all things to all people, they've found that maximalism works best for them. They aim for the moon, knowing that if they miss, they'll still end up among the stars - not that they miss many of their targets on Build. Songs like 'Uffi' may take a little longer to sink in than others, but despite the album's wide-ranging sound, not one element sounds out of place. Then there are moments on which the band prove that they are masters of their craft, the sublime 'Kodiak' inhabiting the same sort of space as the music produced by British bands like Three Trapped Tigers and Gallops, and arguably the best place to start with a head-spinning album such as this.

There are times when the listener will be left scratching their head, admittedly, but in a good way: 'Aschon' is a song made up of elements that honestly shouldn't work, but manage to do so exceptionally well, against all odds. Two-part closer 'Neon Tubes' does a fantastic job of wrapping up the album, its myriad changes of tempo and style difficult to keep up with but constantly thrilling. It's Lotus's way of throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, culminating in a glorious electro freakout that takes the cake for the most head-spinning, WTF-worthy moment of the album. Ambitious, accomplished and impossible to pin down, the closing track is a great indicator of a bold and brilliant album that reveals more of itself with every listen.