I think we can all agree that since the split of Meet Me In St. Louis back in 2008, there’s been a very large British post-hardcore hole in our hearts. There hasn’t been a band since that have been able to cook up the same dish of utter pandemonium a record like Variations on Swing was packed with. But what happens if the man who fronted it, joins a new band and puts out a record on the label who delivered them to us in the first place?

Then folks, you get the self-titled debut from Tobias Hayes’ (also of Shoes And Socks Off) new musical venture – the Brighton-based Love Among The Mannequins. If you dream at night of a new Meet Me In St. Louis record, then this spiritual successor won’t quite have you dancing with joy – but it’ll sure have you tapping your feet.

The band also comprises of Alexander Peterson, Jonathon Baker and Steven Stride (although it was primarily written and recorded as a three piece) and together they trade Meet Me In St. Louis’ film-quote titles with American population geneticists, Hunter S. Thompson protagonists and Russian philosophers, presenting these themes with a really fucking loud blend post-hardcore and art rock.

It’s ultimately a bit of a pretentious love album to the twentieth century, but you can’t fault the tunes themselves. Technically, fans of Mclusky, Q and Not U – even Shellac and Fugazi – will feel right at home with the abstractness and rawness of it all. Riffs collide, vocals spray like a fountain all over the place and rhythms change without any notice at all. The track George Robert Price is one of the best examples of this, and sounds like pre-Animals This Town Needs Guns in the way it shakes up it’s time signatures every thirty seconds or so. It’s enthralling to listen to; the record often breaks out into what sound like spontaneous jam sessions and it helps the flow nicely.

At the heart of the record is the more melody-driven tracks, like the Blood Brothers-esque Raoul Duke and the anthemic Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov. They’ll have you tapping your feet and nodding your head uncontrollably, which is a strange contrast with some of the rest of the album that tends to be a little softer in places. These tracks – even moments – are rare, but the tease should be appreciated – it certainly keeps you listening and you never quite know what’s coming around the corner with these guys.

It’s the vocals that ultimately tie up all these components together, and while this is the case for a lot of bands it certainly is true of these gents. They drip with melancholy, yet adapt for each and every track on the album. Gentle whispers, flailing cries and soaring, gang screeches keep everything fresh – it’s a joy to listen to.

Ultimately, fans of anything Toby Hayes will find something to love here, and if you’ve never heard any of his work before then Love Among The Mannequins is a good a place as any to start. They’re already at work on their sophomore effort, and if they continue to be as prolific as they are talented, then they’ve most certainly got a bright future ahead of them.